The distribution of chlorophyll-a and dominant planktonic components in the coastal transition zone off Concepción, central Chile, during different oceanographic conditions

Carmen E. Morales, Humberto E. González, SAMUEL ERNESTO HORMAZABAL FRITZ, Gabriel Yuras, Jaime Letelier, Leonardo R. Castro

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

44 Scopus citations

Abstract

The oceanographic setting and the planktonic distribution in the coastal transition zone off Concepción (∼35-38°S, ∼73-77°W), an area characterized by its high biological production, were assessed during two different seasons: austral spring with equatorward upwelling favorable winds and austral winter with predominately northerly winds. Oceanographic and biological data (total chlorophyll-a, particulate organic carbon, microplankton, large mesozooplankton >500 μm as potential consumers of microplankton) were obtained during two cruises (October 1998, July 1999) together with satellite imagery for wind stress, geostrophic flow, surface temperature, and chlorophyll-a data. The physical environment during the spring sampling was typical of the upwelling period in this region, with a well-defined density front in the shelf-break area and high concentrations of surface chlorophyll-a (>5 mg m-3) on the shelf over the Itata terrace. During the winter sampling, highly variable though weakly upwelling-favorable winds were observed along with lower surface chlorophyll-a values (<2 mg m-3) on the shelf. In the oceanic area (>100 km from the coast), cyclonic and anti-cyclonic eddies were evident in the flow field during both periods, the former coinciding with higher chlorophyll-a contents (∼1 mg m-3) than in the surrounding waters. Also, a cold, chlorophyll-a rich filament was well defined during the spring sampling, extending from the shelf out to 350-400 km offshore. Along a cross-shelf transect, the micro- and meso-planktonic assemblages displayed higher coastal abundances during the spring cruise but secondary peaks appeared in the oceanic area during the winter cruise, coinciding with the distribution of the eddies. These results suggest that the mesoscale features in this region, in combination with upwelling, play a role in potentially increasing the biological productivity of the coastal transition zone off Concepción.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)452-469
Number of pages18
JournalProgress in Oceanography
Volume75
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - Nov 2007
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Bio-Bio Region
  • Central Chile
  • Chlorophyll-a variability
  • Coastal transition zone
  • Coastal upwelling off Concepción
  • Cold filaments and eddies
  • Concepción
  • Plankton distribution
  • SE Pacific

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