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Title:Plankton bloom controlled by horizontal stirring
Authors:McKiver W., Neufeld Z. and Scheuring I., 2009
Abstract: Here we show a simple mechanism in which changes in the rate of horizontal stirring by mesoscale ocean eddies can trigger or suppress plankton blooms and can lead to an abrupt change in the average plankton density. We consider a single species phytoplankton model with logistic growth, grazing and a spatially non-uniform carrying capacity. The local dynamics have multiple steady states for some values of the carrying capacity that can lead to localized blooms as fluid moves across the regions with different properties. We show that for this model even small changes in the ratio of biological timescales relative to the flow timescales can greatly enhance or reduce the global plankton productivity. Thus, this may be a possible mechanism in which changes in horizontal mixing can trigger plankton blooms or cause regime shifts in some oceanic regions. Comparison between the spatially distributed model and Lagrangian simulations considering temporal fluctuations along fluid trajectories, demonstrates that small scale transport processes also play an important role in the development of plankton blooms with a significant influence on global biomass.
ICHEC Project:Collective search strategies in turbulent flows
Publication:Nonlinear Processes in Geophysics (2009) 16:623-630
URL: http://www.nonlin-processes-geophys.net/16/623/2009/
Status: Published

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