Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Coastal phytoplankton off the Central California coast

This copepod from Monterey Bay is less than one millimeter (1/32 inch) long.
“Traditionally, we picture a dense phytoplankton [microscopic algae] bloom near the surface, full of grazing copepods. Yet we’ve detected large numbers of copepods that appear to be feeding at the interface between the bloom and plumes of upwelled water,” said MBARI molecular ecologist Julio Harvey. “The copepods are at edges of the bloom, not just inside it.”

"Near-coastal retention of larvae affects the ecology of many marine species. In coastal upwelling ecosystems having strong offshore transport, larval ecology is greatly influenced by nearshore retention in bays and in the lee of headlands. Further, frontal dynamics along the periphery of retention zones can drive larval accumulation and transport. "


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