A pseudo‐lagrangian transformation to study a chlorophyll‐a patch in the Ría de Vigo (NW Iberian Peninsula)
UNIVERSAL IDENTIFIER: http://hdl.handle.net/11093/3132
EDITED VERSION: https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1029/2021JC017455
DOCUMENT TYPE: article
Because of the difficulties in tracking a water mass over time and conducting synoptic surveys over large spatial scales, measurements of biological variables in the ocean are often restricted to isolated Eulerian observations. Here a proof-of-concept of a pseudo-Lagrangian transformation was applied to a time series of chlorophyll-a profiles acquired at a single fixed station to diagnose the shape of a phytoplankton patch, and its physical-biological rates of transformation. During August 2013, a 27-hr time series of observations of horizontal currents, hydrographic properties, turbulent mixing and chlorophyll-a was acquired at a central station of the Ría de Vigo (NW Iberian Peninsula). A chlorophyll-a patch, tilted upward toward the inner part of the Ría, was observed moving back and forth past the sampling station. Its shape and position during the sampling period were modulated by the semi-diurnal (M2) tidal currents and the vertically sheared upwelling circulation. The pseudo-Lagrangian transformation allowed estimation of chlorophyll-a net rates of change. These rates were positive between 12 and 14 m depth, and negative elsewhere, with a mean value of −0.001 ± 0.449 days−1 within the patch maximum. After accounting for the effects of diffusion and sinking, the mean net biological production rate in the upper 15 m (0.53 ± 0.25 days−1) was comparable with in vitro estimates of the balance between phytoplankton growth and mortality obtained from dilution experiments carried out under similar conditions (0.2 ± 0.7 days−1). This pseudo-Lagrangian transformation is complementary to traditional analyses for the quantification of ecological processes and biogeochemical budgets.
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