Biological activity in the wake of an island close to a coastal upwelling

Sandulescu, M.; López, C.; Hernández-García, E.; Feudel, U.
Ecological Complexity 5, 228-237 (2008)

Hydrodynamic forcing plays an important role in shaping the
dynamics of marine organisms, in particular of plankton. In this
work we study the planktonic biological activity in the wake of an
island which is close to an upwelling region. Our research is
based on numerical analysis of a kinematic flow mimicking the
hydrodynamics in the wake, coupled to a three-component plankton
model. Depending on model parameters different phenomena are
described: a) The lack of transport of nutrients and plankton
across the wake, so that the influence of upwelling on primary
production on the other side of the wake is blocked. b) For
sufficiently high vorticity, the role of the wake in facilitating
this transport and leading to an enhancement of primary
production. Finally c) we show that under certain conditions the
interplay between wake structures and biological growth leads to
plankton blooms inside mesoscale hydrodynamic vortices that act as
incubators of primary production.

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