Effect of wind events on phytoplankton blooms in the Pearl River estuary during summer

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Title Effect of wind events on phytoplankton blooms in the Pearl River estuary during summer
Author Yin, Kedong; Zhang, Jianlin; Qian, Pei-Yuan; Jian, Weijun; Huang, Liangmin; Chen, Jianfang; Wu, Madeline C.S.
Journal Name Continental Shelf Research
Year Published 2004
Place of publication UK
Publisher Elsevier
Abstract The Pearl River estuary fuels phytoplankton productivity in the estuarine coastal waters in the oligotrophic South China Sea. Cruises were conducted to investigate the spatial distribution of primary productivity, and two size fractionations (o5 and 45 mm) of chlorophyll in the Pearl River estuary and across the coastal plume south of Hong Kong during the season of high river discharge (July, 1999 and 2000). During 18–19 July 1999, phytoplankton biomass and productivity were low in the freshwater dominated estuary (o20 mg chl am2 and o100 mgCm2 d1, respectively), and were maximal at the edge of the estuarine coastal plume south of Hong Kong, reaching 70mg chl a m2 and 4.2 gCm2 d1, respectively. Chl a was dominated by the45 mm size fractionation (450%). The Pearl River estuary displayed a typical spatial variability of phytoplankton biomass: low biomass and productivity due to rapid dilution and light limitation in turbid estuarine waters, a regional maximum of biomass and productivity at intermediate salinities in the coastal plume and low biomass due to nutrient limitation in oceanic waters. In summer when south-southwest monsoonal winds blow, part of the coastal plume moves eastwards. A regional maximum of phytoplankton usually develops in the coastal plume south of Hong Kong. However, a change in wind direction to the east or northeast can cause the following effects: pushing the coastal plume westward to the estuary, holding (retaining) the estuarine plume in the estuary (due to the Coriolis effect) and at the same time, mixing the water column vertically. Such a strong east or northeast wind event was observed during July 22–26 1999 and caused an increase in salinity at the surface in the estuary compared to before the wind event. This wind event increased the residence time of the estuarine plume inside the estuary, and as a result, a phytoplankton bloom (52–151mg chl am2) developed during July 25–26 inside the estuary. This similar easterly wind effect was observed during July 2000. After a strong easterly wind event (speed 10ms1) on July 11, the coastal plume was absent in waters south of Hong Kong on July 13, but it returned on July 19 after winds blew from the south and southwest direction. The results suggest that wind events not only changed the spatial movement of the coastal plume, but also the spatial distribution of phytoplankton biomass and productivity in the Pearl River estuary and adjacent coastal waters.
Peer Reviewed Yes
Published Yes
Publisher URI http://www.elsevier.com/wps/find/journaldescription.cws_home/662/description#description
Alternative URI http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.csr.2004.06.015
Volume 24
Page from 1909
Page to 1923
ISSN 0278-4343
Date Accessioned 2007-07-11
Date Available 2008-12-12T05:38:37Z
Language en_AU
Research Centre Environmental Futures Research Institute
Faculty Faculty of Environmental Sciences
Subject Biological Oceanography
URI http://hdl.handle.net/10072/20843
Publication Type Journal Articles (Refereed Article)
Publication Type Code c1x

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