Delayed upwelling alters nearshore coastal ocean ecosystems in the northern California current Public Deposited

http://ir.library.oregonstate.edu/concern/defaults/05741t232

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  • Wind-driven coastal ocean upwelling supplies nutrients to the euphotic zone near the coast. Nutrients fuel the growth of phytoplankton, the base of a very productive coastal marine ecosystem [Pauly D, Christensen V (1995) Nature 374:255–257]. Because nutrient supply and phytoplankton biomass in shelf waters are highly sensitive to variation in upwelling-driven circulation, shifts in the timing and strength of upwelling may alter basic nutrient and carbon fluxes through marine food webs. We show how a 1-month delay in the 2005 spring transition to upwelling-favorable wind stress in the northern California Current Large Marine Ecosystem resulted in numerous anomalies: warm water, low nutrient levels, low primary productivity, and an unprecedented low recruitment of rocky intertidal organisms. The delay was associated with 20- to 40-day wind oscillations accompanying a southward shift of the jet stream. Early in the upwelling season (May–July) off Oregon, the cumulative upwelling-favorable wind stress was the lowest in 20 years, nearshore surface waters averaged 2°C warmer than normal, surf-zone chlorophyll-a and nutrients were 50% and 30% less than normal, respectively, and densities of recruits of mussels and barnacles were reduced by 83% and 66%, respectively. Delayed early-season upwelling and stronger late-season upwelling are consistent with predictions of the influence of global warming on coastal upwelling regions.
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  • Barth, J. A., Menge, B. A., Lubchenco, J., Chan, F., Bane, J. M., Kirincich, A. R., McManus, M. A., Nielsen, K. J., Pierce, S. D., & Washburn, L. (2007, March 6). Delayed upwelling alters nearshore coastal ocean ecosystems in the northern California current [Electronic version]. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 104(10), 3719-3724. doi:10.1073/pnas.0700462104
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