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Petrik, CM, Jackson GA, Checkley JDM.  2013.  Aggregates and their distributions determined from LOPC observations made using an autonomous profiling float. Deep Sea Research Part I: Oceanographic Research Papers.   10.1016/j.dsr.2012.12.009   AbstractWebsite

The vertical flux of particles in the ocean drives the movement of organic carbon to the deep ocean. We have been studying the distribution and flux of these particles using the SOLOPC, a profiling Lagrangian (SOLO) float with a Laser Optical Particle Counter (LOPC). We have been able to distinguish between aggregate-like and zooplankton-like particles with diameters > 2 mm but needed a way to separate the smaller particles into aggregates and zooplankton. Observations included a lognormal-shaped fraction in the normalized volume distribution similar to that observed in results for simulations of particles in the euphotic zone. By fitting a lognormal distribution to the volume spectrum of particles with diameters ≤ 2 mm , we have been successful at making a separation of marine snow material from other, presumably living, particles. The particle volumes derived using the separations are positively correlated with fluorescence, particulate organic carbon, and the volume of larger particles classified as aggregate-like, which supports the conclusion that these particles are truly aggregates, in some cases derived from phytoplankton. The residual volumes (total less the above fit) are highly correlated with the volumes of large, zooplankton-like particles. Downward velocities of the aggregate fraction calculated from time series of particle profiles are consistent with previous estimates of particle settling rates ( 20 – 70 m d − 1 ) . We now have a tool to estimate aggregate distributions, properties, and vertical fluxes in the euphotic zone, including when and where they change.

Song, H, Miller AJ, McClatchie S, Weber ED, Nieto KM, Checkley DM.  2012.  Application of a data-assimilation model to variability of Pacific sardine spawning and survivor habitats with ENSO in the California Current System. Journal of Geophysical Research-Oceans. 117   10.1029/2011jc007302   AbstractWebsite

The Pacific sardine (Sardinops sagax) showed significant differences in spawning habitat area, spawning habitat quality and availability of survivor habitat as the Pacific Ocean went through the La Nina state in April 2002 to a weak El Nino in April 2003. During another El Nino/Southern Oscillation transition period in 2006-2007 when the El Nino state retreated and the La Nina returned, a similar pattern in spawning habitat quality was seen. The coupling between the atmospheric forcing, the physical ocean states and the properties of the sardine egg spawning are investigated using dynamically consistent data-assimilation fits of the available physical oceanographic observations during these months. Fits were executed using the Regional Ocean Modeling System four-dimensional variational assimilation platform along with adjoint model runs using a passive tracer to deduce source waters for the areas of interest. Analysis using the data-assimilation model runs reveals that unusually strong equatorward wind-forcing drives offshore transport during the La Nina conditions, which extends the spawning habitat for sardine further offshore. A statistical model of sardine spawning habitat shows better habitat quality during the El Nino conditions, which is associated with higher egg densities and corresponded to higher daily egg production. Concentration of eggs is also increased by convergence of water. The results of the source waters analysis using the adjoint data assimilation model support the idea that offshore transport extends the spawning habitat, and show that higher levels of nutrient are brought into the spawning habitat with high concentration of sardine eggs.

Checkley, DM, Davis RE, Herman AW, Jackson GA, Beanlands B, Regier LA.  2008.  Assessing plankton and other particles in situ with the SOLOPC. Limnology and Oceanography. 53:2123-2136.   10.4319/lo.2008.53.5_part_2.2123   AbstractWebsite

We combined a Sounding Oceanographic Lagrangian Observer float with a Laser Optical Plankton Counter (LOPC) and a fluorometer to make an autonomous biological profiler, the SOLOPC. The instrument senses plankton and other particles over a size range of 100 mm to 1 cm in profiles to 300 m in depth and sends data ashore via satellite. Objects sensed by the LOPC include aggregates and zooplankton, the larger of which can be distinguished from one another by their transparency. We hypothesized that the diel production of particles and their loss by sinking and grazing are reflected in the change of the particle distribution. We present data from four deployments of the SOLOPC off California. Particle volume was maximal at the base of the surface mixed layer and correlated with chlorophyll a fluorescence. In a 3-d deployment in 2005, particle volume was greatest in the early evening and smallest in the morning, and average particle size increased with depth. Eigenvector analysis of the particle volume distribution as a function of diameter for each of the deployments yielded size peaks characteristic of planktonic crustaceans. Ship-based measurements showed that the abundance of opaque particles of 1.1-1.7 mm equivalent spherical diameter was positively correlated with copepods of this size and simultaneously collected in nets. This relationship was used with SOLOPC data to estimate the distribution of large copepods, which were most abundant beneath the depth of maximal particle flux, estimated from particle size and published sinking rates. Our data are consistent with a model with diel production of particles and their loss by sinking and grazing.

Van der Lingen, CD, Checkley D, Barange M, Hutchings L, Osgood K.  1998.  Assessing the abundance and distribution of eggs of sardine, Sardinops sagax, and round herring, Etrumeus whiteheadi, on the western Agulhas Bank, South Africa, using a continuous, underway fish egg sampler. Fisheries Oceanography. 7:35-47. AbstractWebsite

A continuous, underway fish egg sampler (CUFES) was employed to assess the abundance and distribution of eggs of both sardine, Sardinops sagax, and round herring, Etrumeus whiteheadi, on the Western Agulhas Bank, South Africa, during September 1996. Samples were collected while underway along six inshore/offshore transects, and at stations along the transects. Volumetric estimates of egg density (eggs m(-3)) from on-station CUFES samples were highly correlated with both volumetric and areal (eggs m(-2)) estimates of egg density from samples collected from CalVET net hauls at these stations, demonstrating the validity of this novel sampling technique. Sardine and round herring eggs were encountered in a band running parallel to the coast and extending from 10 to 33 nautical miles offshore to the shelf edge, and highest egg densities were associated with strong north-west-flowing currents in the region of the shelf edge. Collecting samples while underway increased the precision of the estimate of mean egg density for sardine eggs but not for round herring eggs. The use of CUFES in obtaining a fine-scale resolution of sardine egg distribution, and as a tool for stock assessment, are discussed.