Are mesoscale perturbation experiments in polar waters prone to physical artefacts Evidence from algal aggregation modelling studies

P.W. Boyd, G.A. Jackson, Anya Waite

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    30 Citations (Scopus)

    Abstract

    [1] The longevity (> 50d) of the phytoplankton bloom following mesoscale iron-enrichment of Southern Ocean waters (SOIREE) exceeded that for naturally occurring polar blooms (15-20d). During SOIREE, SF6-labelled waters increased 20-fold, and the greatest algal loss term was lateral advection. To test whether such advective losses could delay the onset of mass sedimentation, an algal aggregation model was employed. It successfully simulated temporal trends in mass sedimentation during the tropical IronEx II bloom, yet suggested no such event during SOIREE. However, when an iron-enrichment of 100 km length-scale (i.e. tenfold greater than for SOIREE) was mimicked, a marked increase in algal aggregate size occurred after 15d, indicative of increased export. Thus, careful interpretation of experimental results-especially for the fate of algal carbon-is essential, particularly for polar studies where the ratio of net algal growth to advective losses is low, if they are to be extrapolated to open-ocean waters.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)1541-1541
    JournalGeophysical Research Letters
    Volume29
    Issue number11
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - 2002

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