Seasonal Modulation of Phytoplankton Biomass in the Southern Ocean

Wednesday, Oct 28, 2020

In a new study published in Nature Communications, the authors used multi-year observations from a very large array of robotic drifting floats in the Southern Ocean to determine key factors governing phytoplankton biomass dynamics over the annual cycle. Their results confirm studies based predominantly on satellite data, which over the last ten years  have suggested that annual phytoplankton biomass cycles need to be understood by taken into account the coupling between environmental properties controlling phytoplankton division rates (e.g., nutrients and light), as well as ecological processes leading to the loss of upper ocean biomass (e.g., grazing, viruses, sinking).  The research was led by former AOS Associate Research Scholar Lionel Arteaga (NASA Goddard Global Modeling and Assimilation Office). Jorge Sarmiento, Princeton's George J. Magee Professor of Geoscience and Geological Engineering, Emeritus is among the paper's co-authors.