Phytoplankton spatial distribution in south San Francisco Bay: mesoscale and small-scale variability

By: , and 
Edited by: Douglas A. Wolfe



Horizontal transects of surface salinity and in-vivo fluorescence indicate the existence of three distinct spatial regimes in South San Francisco Bay. A mid-Bay region of low phytoplankton biomass with little small-scale variance is bounded to the north and south by water masses having higher in-vivo fluorescence and enhanced small-scale variability. Autocorrelation analyses demonstrate that the length scale of phytoplankton patchiness is longest in the mid-Bay region. The persistent discontinuities of in-vivo fluorescence and salinity are associated with topographic features—a large shoal to the north and a constriction to the south. The three spatial regimes are consistent with measured zooplankton distributions, existing current meter data, estimated longitudinal transports, and numerical simulations of residual circulations that show one (and perhaps two) large-scale gyre(s) bounded by the northern shoal and southern constriction. Topographic features are the most important physical factors controlling mesoscale (~ 10 km) variability of phytoplankton in South San Francisco Bay. We speculate that vertical current shear and salinity stratification (and their effects upon turbulence and diffusion) control small-scale patchiness, but quantitative estimates are needed to determine the influence of large-scale (and local) phytoplankton growth and loss processes.

Additional publication details

Publication type Book chapter
Publication Subtype Book Chapter
Title Phytoplankton spatial distribution in south San Francisco Bay: mesoscale and small-scale variability
DOI 10.1016/B978-0-12-761890-6.50028-9
Year Published 1986
Language English
Publisher Academic Press
Contributing office(s) San Francisco Bay-Delta, Pacific Regional Director's Office
Description 15 p.
Larger Work Type Book
Larger Work Subtype Monograph
Larger Work Title Estuarine variability
First page 369
Last page 383
Online Only (Y/N) N
Additional Online Files (Y/N) N
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