Short-term changes in the plankton of a highly homogeneous Basin of the Straits of Magellan (Paso Ancho) during spring 1994
T. Antezana and M. Hamamé

Changes in nutrients, chlorophyll and zooplankton were followed for 11 d in a basin of the Straits of Magellan (Paso Ancho), characterized by a homogeneous water column during a spring event defined by a drastic change in wind stress and direction. Conditions hardly seemed conducive to a phytoplankton bloom. Initial conditions were characterized by SW gales, low nutrients as well as by Chaetoceros spp. and Thalassiosira spp. dominated phytoplankton. Wind switched abruptly to calm-weak northerlies by the middle of the study period, a subsurface chlorophyll peak developed and extended to the end of the study while nitrates decreased. Zooplankton was dominated by copepods, nauplii and a diverse meroplankton assemblage. Zooplankton composition was rather uniform, except for diel changes in some taxa. Gut contents of zooplankton size fractions (including Euphausia vallentini as the largest fraction) were measured. Grazing rates accounted for 0.5 % of the available chlorophyll. Phytoplankton blooming may be explained by transient water stratification resulting from the relaxation of wind stress and eventual retention of the phytoplankton in the photic layer. Minor variability in zooplankton implied the existence of a permanent and distinct assemblage in a strongly homogeneous environment.

Contents of this volume Sci. Mar. 63(Suppl.1) : 59-67 Back PDF
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