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Phytoplankton growth in the Australian sector of the Southern Ocean, examined by optimising ecosystem model parameters


Kidston, M and Matear, R and Baird, ME, Phytoplankton growth in the Australian sector of the Southern Ocean, examined by optimising ecosystem model parameters, Journal of Marine Systems, 128 pp. 123-137. ISSN 0924-7963 (2013) [Refereed Article]

Copyright Statement

Copyright 2013 Elsevier B.V.

DOI: doi:10.1016/j.jmarsys.2013.04.011


SeaWiFS surface chlorophyll estimates and Levitus nitrate estimates in the Southern Ocean south of Australia (140E) show that this region is characterised by a high-nitrate low-chlorophyll (HNLC) regime typical of Southern Ocean waters. The HNLC conditions become more prominent moving south from the Sub-Antarctic Zone, with surface chlorophyll generally decreasing and nitrate increasing with latitude. Parameter optimisation experiments were performed using simulated annealing to fit a zero-dimensional nitrogen-based four-component ecosystem model to SeaWiFS surface chlorophyll data in the Sub-Antarctic Zone (SAZ), Polar Frontal Zone (PFZ) and Antarctic Zone (AZ). We hypothesise that bioavailability of iron limits phytoplankton growth in this region. A physiological indicator of iron availability was investigated by optimising three of the model parameters defining maximum photosynthetic growth and maximum photosynthetic efficiency of phytoplankton. The effect of zooplankton grazing and light, mixed layer depth and temperature forcing data on the optimisation results was investigated in further optimisation experiments. An error analysis of the optimised parameter estimates was performed by analysing the Hessian matrix of the cost function. The parameter optimisations indicate that phytoplankton growth rates in the Polar Frontal Zone and Antarctic Zone are limited by some process not explicitly included in this model, with iron availability being the most likely candidate. Based on these optimisations we support the theory that micronutrient availability is the primary cause of the HNLC conditions in the Australian sector of the Southern Ocean.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:Australia, Tasmania, 140E, biogeochemical cycles, iron, marine ecology, marine ecosystem modelling, parameter optimization, Southern Ocean
Research Division:Biological Sciences
Research Group:Ecology
Research Field:Marine and estuarine ecology (incl. marine ichthyology)
Objective Division:Environmental Management
Objective Group:Marine systems and management
Objective Field:Marine biodiversity
UTAS Author:Matear, R (Dr Richard Matear)
ID Code:119059
Year Published:2013
Web of Science® Times Cited:6
Deposited By:Oceans and Cryosphere
Deposited On:2017-07-25
Last Modified:2017-10-16

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