Influences of upwelling and downwelling winds on red tide bloom dynamics in Monterey Bay, California
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Ryan, JP and Fischer, AM and Kudela, RM and Gower, JFR and King, SA and Marin, R and Chavez, FP, Influences of upwelling and downwelling winds on red tide bloom dynamics in Monterey Bay, California, Continental Shelf Research, 29, (5-6) pp. 785-795. ISSN 0278-4343 (2008) [Refereed Article]
It has recently been shown that inner shelf waters of NE Monterey Bay, California function as an "extreme bloom incubator", frequently developing dense "red tide" blooms that can rapidly spread. Located within the California Current upwelling system, this open bay is strongly influenced by oceanographic dynamics resulting from cycles of upwelling favorable winds and their relaxation and/or reversal. Different wind forcing causes influx of different water types that originate outside the bay: cold nutrient-rich waters during upwelling and warm nutrient-poor waters during relaxation. In this study, we examine how the bay's bloom incubation area can interact with highly variable circulation to cause red tide spreading, dispersal and retention. This examination of processes is supported by satellite, airborne and in situ observations of a major dinoflagellate bloom during August and September of 2004. Remote sensing of high spatial, temporal and spectral resolution shows that the bloom originated in the NE bay, where it was highly concentrated in a narrow band along a thermal front. Upwelling circulation rapidly spread part of the bloom, mixing cool waters of an upwelling filament with warm bloom source waters as they spread. Vertical migration of the dinoflagellate populations was mapped by autonomous underwater vehicle surveys through the spreading bloom. Following bloom expansion, a two-day wind reversal forced intrusion of warm offshore waters that dispersed much of the bloom. Upwelling winds then resumed, and the bloom was further dispersed by an influx of cold water. Throughout these oceanographic responses to changing winds, an intense bloom persisted in sheltered waters of the NE bay, where extreme blooms are most frequent and intense. Microscopic examination of surface phytoplankton samples from the central bay showed that spreading of the bloom from the NE bay and mixing with regional water masses resulted in significantly increased abundance of dinoflagellates and decreased abundance of diatoms. Similar dinoflagellate bloom incubation sites are indicated in other areas of the California Current system and other coastal upwelling systems. Through frequent bloom development and along-coast transports, relatively small incubation sites may significantly influence larger regions of the coastal marine ecosystems in which they reside. © 2009 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
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