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Saba, VS, Hyde KJW, Rebuck ND, Friedland KD, Hare JA, Kahru M, Fogarty MJ.  2015.  Physical associations to spring phytoplankton biomass interannual variability in the US Northeast Continental Shelf. Journal of Geophysical Research-Biogeosciences. 120:205-220.   10.1002/2014jg002770   AbstractWebsite

The continental shelf of the Northeast United States and Nova Scotia is a productive marine ecosystem that supports a robust biomass of living marine resources. Understanding marine ecosystem sensitivity to changes in the physical environment can start with the first-order response of phytoplankton (i.e., chlorophyll a), the base of the marine food web. However, the primary physical associations to the interannual variability of chlorophyll a in these waters are unclear. Here we used ocean color satellite measurements and identified the local and remote physical associations to interannual variability of spring surface chlorophyll a from 1998 to 2013. The highest interannual variability of chlorophyll a occurred in March and April on the northern flank of Georges Bank, the western Gulf of Maine, and Nantucket Shoals. Complex interactions between winter wind speed over the Shelf, local winter water levels, and the relative proportions of Atlantic versus Labrador Sea source waters entering the Gulf of Maine from the previous summer/fall were associated with the variability of March/April chlorophyll a in Georges Bank and the Gulf of Maine. Sea surface temperature and sea surface salinity were not robust correlates to spring chlorophyll a. Surface nitrate in the winter was not a robust correlate to chlorophyll a or the physical variables in every case suggesting that nitrate limitation may not be the primary constraint on the interannual variability of the spring bloom throughout all regions. Generalized linear models suggest that we can resolve 88% of March chlorophyll a interannual variability in Georges Bank using lagged physical data.

Schwarz, JN, Kowalczuk P, Kaczmarek S, Cota GF, Mitchell BG, Kahru M, Chavez FP, Cunningham A, McKee D, Gege P, Kishino T, Phinney DA, Raine R.  2002.  Two models for absorption by coloured dissolved organic matter (CDOM). Oceanologia. 44:209-241. AbstractWebsite

The standard exponential model for CDOM absorption has been applied to data from diverse waters. Absorption at 440 nm (a(g)440) ranged between close to zero and 10 m(-1), and the slope of the semilogarithmic absorption spectrum over a minimum range of 400 to 440 nm (s440) ranged between < 0.01 and 0.04 nm(-1). NO relationship was found between a(g)440 or s440 and salinity. Except in the southern Baltic, s440 was found to have abroad distribution (0.0165 +/- 0.0035), suggesting that it should be introduced as an additional variable in bio-optical models when a(g)440 is large. An alternative model for CDOM absorption was applied to available high quality UV-visible absorption spectra from the Wisla river (Poland). This model assumes that, the CDOM absorption spectrum comprises distinct Gaussian absorption bands in the UV, similar to those of benzene. Five bands were fit to the data. The mean central energy of all hands was higher in early summer (E &SIM;7.2, 6.6, 6.4, 6.2 and 5.5 eV or 172, 188, 194, 200 and 226 nm)) than in winter. The higher energy bands were found to decay in both height and width with increasing salinity, while lower energy bands broadened with increasing salinity. 8440 was found to be correlated with shape parameters of the bands centred at 6.4 and 5.5 eV. While the exponential model is convenient for optical modelling and remote sensing applications, these results suggest that the Gaussian model offers a deeper understanding of chemical interactions affecting CDOM molecular structure.

Smith, KL, Ruhl HA, Huffard CL, Messie M, Kahru M.  2018.  Episodic organic carbon fluxes from surface ocean to abyssal depths during long-term monitoring in NE Pacific. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America. 115:12235-12240.   10.1073/pnas.1814559115   AbstractWebsite

Growing evidence suggests substantial quantities of particulate organic carbon (POC) produced in surface waters reach abyssal depths within days during episodic flux events. A 29-year record of in situ observations was used to examine episodic peaks in POC fluxes and sediment community oxygen consumption (SCOC) at Station M (NE Pacific, 4,000-m depth). From 1989 to 2017, 19% of POC flux at 3,400 m arrived during high-magnitude episodic events (>= mean + 2 sigma), and 43% from 2011 to 2017. From 2011 to 2017, when high-resolution SCOC data were available, time lags between changes in satellite-estimated export flux (EF), POC flux, and SCOC on the sea floor varied between six flux events from 0 to 70 days, suggesting variable remineralization rates and/or particle sinking speeds. Half of POC flux pulse events correlated with prior increases in EF and/or subsequent SCOC increases. Peaks in EF overlying Station M frequently translated to changes in POC flux at abyssal depths. A power-law model (Martin curve) was used to estimate abyssal fluxes from EF and midwater temperature variation. While the background POC flux at 3,400-m depth was described well by the model, the episodic events were significantly underestimated by similar to 80% and total flux by almost 50%. Quantifying episodic pulses of organic carbon into the deep sea is critical in modeling the depth and intensity of POC sequestration and understanding the global carbon cycle.

Smith, KL, Sherman AD, Huffard CL, McGill PR, Henthorn R, Von Thun S, Ruhl HA, Kahru M, Ohman MD.  2014.  Large salp bloom export from the upper ocean and benthic community response in the abyssal northeast Pacific: Day to week resolution. Limnology and Oceanography. 59:745-757.   10.4319/lo.2014.59.3.0745   AbstractWebsite

A large bloom of Salpa spp. in the northeastern Pacific during the spring of 2012 resulted in a major deposition of tunics and fecal pellets on the seafloor at similar to 4000 m depth (Sta. M) over a period of 6 months. Continuous monitoring of this food pulse was recorded using autonomous instruments: sequencing sediment traps, a time-lapse camera on the seafloor, and a bottom-transiting vehicle measuring sediment community oxygen consumption (SCOC). These deep-sea measurements were complemented by sampling of salps in the epipelagic zone by California Cooperative Ocean Fisheries Investigations. The particulate organic carbon (POC) flux increased sharply beginning in early March, reaching a peak of 38 mg C m(-2) d(-1) in mid-April at 3400 m depth. Salp detritus started appearing in images of the seafloor taken in March and covered a daily maximum of 98% of the seafloor from late June to early July. Concurrently, the SCOC rose with increased salp deposition, reaching a high of 31 mg C m(-2) d(-1) in late June. A dominant megafauna species, Peniagone sp. A, increased 7-fold in density beginning 7 weeks after the peak in salp deposition. Estimated food supply from salp detritus was 97-327% of the SCOC demand integrated over the 6-month period starting in March 2012. Such large episodic pulses of food sustain abyssal communities over extended periods of time.

Smith, KL, Ruhl HA, Kaufmann RS, Kahru M.  2008.  Tracing abyssal food supply back to upper-ocean processes over a 17-year time series in the northeast Pacific. Limnology and Oceanography. 53:2655-2667.   10.4319/lo.2008.53.6.2655   AbstractWebsite

Detrital aggregates episodically deposited on the seafloor represent an underestimated food source to deep-sea communities. A 17-yr time-series study was conducted from 1990 to 2006 in the abyssal northeast Pacific (Sta. M, 4100 m in depth) to evaluate the importance of this food source and its temporal relationship to water column and surface ocean processes. Detrital aggregates appeared on the seafloor from June through December, with the highest peaks in 1990, 1994, 2001, and 2002 reaching a maximum density of 23 m(-2) in fall 2001. A total of 15,816 aggregates were measured, most less than 20 cm(2) in area and with a mode of 9 cm(2). Density of detrital aggregates was highly correlated with particulate organic carbon (POC) flux at 600 and 50 m above the bottom (p < 0.001) with no time lag. Export flux of organic carbon from the euphotic zone was significantly correlated with aggregate density, lagged earlier by 1-4 months (p <= 0.001). Zooplankton displacement volume was significantly correlated with POC flux (p =0.023) and with detrital aggregate density (p =0.028) on the seafloor when lagged earlier by <= 1 month. The Bakun upwelling index computed for the region around Sta. M was significantly correlated with detrital aggregate density when lagged earlier by 2-5 months (p < 0.001). A strong correlation exists between surface ocean processes and abyssal food supply, including POC flux and detrital aggregates. This direct coupling through the entire water column must be considered in resolving the marine carbon cycle.

Smith, KL, Ruhl HA, Kahru M, Huffard CL, Sherman AD.  2013.  Deep ocean communities impacted by changing climate over 24 y in the abyssal northeast Pacific Ocean. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America. 110:19838-19841.   10.1073/pnas.1315447110   AbstractWebsite

The deep ocean, covering a vast expanse of the globe, relies almost exclusively on a food supply originating from primary production in surface waters. With well-documented warming of oceanic surface waters and conflicting reports of increasing and decreasing primary production trends, questions persist about how such changes impact deep ocean communities. A 24-y time-series study of sinking particulate organic carbon (food) supply and its utilization by the benthic community was conducted in the abyssal northeast Pacific (similar to 4,000-m depth). Here we show that previous findings of food deficits are now punctuated by large episodic surpluses of particulate organic carbon reaching the sea floor, which meet utilization. Changing surface ocean conditions are translated to the deep ocean, where decadal peaks in supply, remineralization, and sequestration of organic carbon have broad implications for global carbon budget projections.

Smith, KL, Baldwin RJ, Ruhl HA, Kahru M, Mitchell BG, Kaufmann RS.  2006.  Climate effect on food supply to depths greater than 4,000 meters in the northeast Pacific. Limnology and Oceanography. 51:166-176. AbstractWebsite

A long time-series Study was conducted over 15 yr (1989-2004) to measure particulate organic carbon (POC) flux as an estimate of food supply reaching > 4,000-m depth in the northeast Pacific. Sequencing sediment traps were moored at 3,500-and 4,050-m depth, 600 and 50 in above the seafloor, respectively, to collect sinking particulate matter with 10-d resolution. POC fluxes were compared with three climate indices in the Pacific: the basin-scale multivariate El Nino Southern Oscillation index (MEI) and northern Oscillation index (NOI) and the regional-scale Bakun upwelling index (BUI). The NOI and MEI correlated significantly with POC flux, lagged earlier by 6-10 months, respectively. The BUI also correlated with POC flux. lagged by 2-3 months, suggesting a direct relationship between upwelling intensity and rates Of POC Supply to abyssal depths. Satellite ocean color data for the surface above the study site were used to estimate chlorophyll a concentrations and, combined with sea surface temperature and photosynthetically available radiation, to estimate net primary production and export flux (EF) from the euphotic zone. EF was significantly correlated with POC flux. lagged earlier by 0-3 months. An empirical model to estimate POC flux, with the use of NOI, BUI, and EF yielded Significant agreement with measured fluxes. Modeling of deep-sea processes on broad spatial and temporal scales with climate indices and satellite sensing now appears feasible.

Stramski, D, Reynolds RA, Kahru M, Mitchell BG.  1999.  Estimation of particulate organic carbon in the ocean from satellite remote sensing. Science. 285:239-242.   10.1126/science.285.5425.239   AbstractWebsite

Measurements from the Southern Ocean show that particulate organic carbon (POC) concentration is welt correlated with the optical backscattering by particles suspended in seawater. This relation, in conjunction with retrieval of the backscattering coefficient from remote-sensing reflectance, provides an algorithm for estimating surface POC from Satellite data of ocean color. Satellite imagery from SeaWiFS reveals the seasonal progression of POC, with a zonal band of elevated POC concentrations in December coinciding with the Antarctic Polar Front Zone. At that time, the POC pool within the top 100 meters of the entire Southern Ocean south of 40 degrees S exceeded 0.8 gigatons.

Stukel, MR, Kahru M, Benitez-Nelson CR, Decima M, Goericke R, Landry MR, Ohman MD.  2015.  Using Lagrangian-based process studies to test satellite algorithms of vertical carbon flux in the eastern North Pacific Ocean. Journal of Geophysical Research-Oceans. 120:7208-7222.   10.1002/2015jc011264   AbstractWebsite

The biological carbon pump is responsible for the transport of similar to 5-20 Pg C yr(-1) from the surface into the deep ocean but its variability is poorly understood due to an incomplete mechanistic understanding of the complex underlying planktonic processes. In fact, algorithms designed to estimate carbon export from satellite products incorporate fundamentally different assumptions about the relationships between plankton biomass, productivity, and export efficiency. To test the alternate formulations of export efficiency in remote-sensing algorithms formulated by Dunne et al. (2005), Laws et al. (2011), Henson et al. (2011), and Siegel et al. (2014), we have compiled in situ measurements (temperature, chlorophyll, primary production, phytoplankton biomass and size structure, grazing rates, net chlorophyll change, and carbon export) made during Lagrangian process studies on seven cruises in the California Current Ecosystem and Costa Rica Dome. A food-web based approach formulated by Siegel et al. (2014) performs as well or better than other empirical formulations, while simultaneously providing reasonable estimates of protozoan and mesozooplankton grazing rates. By tuning the Siegel et al. (2014) algorithm to match in situ grazing rates more accurately, we also obtain better in situ carbon export measurements. Adequate representations of food-web relationships and grazing dynamics are therefore crucial to improving the accuracy of export predictions made from satellite-derived products. Nevertheless, considerable unexplained variance in export remains and must be explored before we can reliably use remote sensing products to assess the impact of climate change on biologically mediated carbon sequestration.

Sydeman, WJ, Thompson SA, Garcia-Reyes M, Kahru M, Peterson WT, Largier JL.  2014.  Multivariate ocean-climate indicators (MOCI) for the central California Current: Environmental change, 1990-2010. Progress in Oceanography. 120:352-369.   10.1016/j.pocean.2013.10.017   AbstractWebsite

Temporal environmental variability may confound interpretations of management actions, such as reduced fisheries mortality when Marine Protected Areas are implemented. To aid in the evaluation of recent ecosystem protection decisions in central-northern California, we designed and implemented multivariate ocean-climate indicators (MOCI) of environmental variability. To assess the validity of the MOCI, we evaluated interannual and longer-term variability in relation to previously recognized environmental variability in the region, and correlated MOCI to a suite of biological indicators including proxies for lower- (phytoplankton, copepods, krill), and upper-level (seabirds) taxa. To develop the MOCI, we selected, compiled, and synthesized 14 well-known atmospheric and oceanographic indicators of large-scale and regional processes (transport and upwelling), as well as local atmospheric and oceanic response variables such as wind stress, sea surface temperature, and salinity. We derived seasonally-stratified MOCI using principal component analysis. Over the 21-year study period (1990-2010), the ENSO cycle weakened while extra-tropical influences increased with a strengthening of the North Pacific Gyre Oscillation (NPGO) and cooling of the Pacific Decadal Oscillation (PDO). Correspondingly, the Northern Oscillation Index (NOI) strengthened, leading to enhanced upwelling-favorable wind stress and cooling of air and ocean surface temperatures. The seasonal MOCI related well to subarctic copepod biomass and seabird productivity, but poorly to chlorophyll-a concentration and krill abundance. Our results support a hypothesis of enhanced sub-arctic influence (transport from the north) and upwelling intensification in north-central California over the past two decades. Such environmental conditions may favor population growth for species with sub-arctic zoogeographic affinities within the central-northern California Current coastal ecosystem. (C) 2013 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.