Nonlinear Processes in Oceanic and Atmospheric Flows


Influence of time and spatial scales on phytoplankton blooms

Author: V. Pérez-Muñuzuri and G. Fernández-García, University of Santiago de Compostela.

Names and affiliation of other authors:
Group of Nonlinear Physics. Faculty of Physics. University of Santiago de Compostela.
15782 Santiago de Compostela. Spain.

Oral or poster: Poster

Most of the hydrophysical factors controlling the functioning of the biological community, e.g. temperature, salinity, intensity of turbulent mixing, etc, are functions of time and space. This leads to a possibility of a spatial structure in the aquatic community induced by the heterogeneity of underlying hydrophysical and hydrochemical fields. Thus, for example, heterogeneity of the field of (horizontal) advection currents, usually caused by the wind among other factors, apparently leads to the formation of spatial structures in plankton communities.
In the present work, we analyze the role of time and spatial scales of an advection field on pattern formation. Results will be shown with a simple nutrient-phytoplankton model coupled to (i) an advective field modelled by a Gaussian spatiotemporal distributed noise, and (ii) a real surface current field provided by ESEOAT model from Puertos del Estado for the western Iberian Peninsula with temporal and spatial scales naturally varying with time along one year simulation.
The interplay between the biological and hydrodynamical time and spatial scales have been analyzed. Our results suggest high correlations between areas of strong vertical currents and plankton blooms. A minimum vortices size is needed to account for bloom formation.

Formatted version of the abstract or additional information

*Satellite images from NASA and ESA

Nonlinear Processes in Oceanic and Atmospheric Flows. July 2-4, 2008. Castro Urdiales, Cantabria, Spain.