Tidal stirring and phytoplankton bloom dynamics in an estuary

Journal of Marine Research


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In South San Francisco Bay, estuarine phytoplankton biomass fluctuates at the time scale of days to weeks; much of this variability is associated with fluctuations in tidal energy. During the spring seasons of every year from 1980-1990, episodic blooms occurred in which phytoplankton biomass rose from a baseline of 2-4mg chlorophyll a m-3, peaked at 20-40 chlorophyll a m-3, then returned to baseline values, all within several weeks. Each episode of biomass increase occurred during neap tides, and each bloom decline coincided with spring tides. This suggests that daily variations in the rate of vertical mixing by tidal stirring might control phytoplankton bloom dynamics in some estuaries. Simulation experiments with a numerical model of phytoplankton population dynamics support this hypothesis. -from Author

Additional publication details

Publication type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Title Tidal stirring and phytoplankton bloom dynamics in an estuary
Series title Journal of Marine Research
Volume 49
Issue 1
Year Published 1991
Language English
Contributing office(s) Pacific Regional Director's Office, San Francisco Bay-Delta
Larger Work Type Article
Larger Work Subtype Journal Article
Larger Work Title Journal of Marine Research
First page 203
Last page 221
Online Only (Y/N) N
Additional Online Files (Y/N) N