A unique seasonal pattern in phytoplankton biomass in low-latitude waters in the South China Sea

Chun Mao Tseng, George T.F. Wong, I. I. Lin, C. R. Wu, K. K. Liu

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Abstract

A distinctive seasonal pattern in phytoplankton biomass was observed at the South East Asian Time-series Study (SEATS) station (18°N, 116°E) in the northern South China Sea (SCS). Surface chlorophyll-a, depth-integrated chlorophyll-a and primary production were elevated to 0.3 mg/m3, ∼35 mg/m2 and 300 mg-C/m2/d, respectively, in the winter but stayed low, at ≤0.1 mg/m3, ∼15 mg/m2 and 110 mg-C/m2/d as commonly found in other low latitude waters, in the rest of the year. Concomitantly, soluble reactive phosphate and nitrate+nitrite in the mixed layer also became readily detectable in the winter. The elevation of phytoplankton biomass coincided approximately with the lowest sea surface temperature and the highest wind speed in the year. Only the combined effect of convective overturn by surface cooling and wind-induced mixing could have enhanced vertical mixing sufficiently to make the nutrients in the upper nutricline available for photosynthetic activities and accounted for the higher biomass in the winter.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-4
Number of pages4
JournalGeophysical Research Letters
Volume32
Issue number8
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2005 Apr 28

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phytoplankton
biomass
tropical regions
winter
China
chlorophylls
chlorophyll a
water
surface cooling
overturn
nitrites
sea surface temperature
nutrients
vertical mixing
nitrite
mixed layer
nitrates
primary production
phosphates
stations

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geophysics
  • Earth and Planetary Sciences(all)

Cite this

A unique seasonal pattern in phytoplankton biomass in low-latitude waters in the South China Sea. / Tseng, Chun Mao; Wong, George T.F.; Lin, I. I.; Wu, C. R.; Liu, K. K.

In: Geophysical Research Letters, Vol. 32, No. 8, 28.04.2005, p. 1-4.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Tseng, Chun Mao ; Wong, George T.F. ; Lin, I. I. ; Wu, C. R. ; Liu, K. K. / A unique seasonal pattern in phytoplankton biomass in low-latitude waters in the South China Sea. In: Geophysical Research Letters. 2005 ; Vol. 32, No. 8. pp. 1-4.
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