Physical structuring of the Mid-Atlantic ecosystem: The view from the COOL room


Thursday, April 7, 2011
Redfield Auditorium - 12:00 noon
co-Sponsored with CINAR
Dr. Oscar Schofield
Rutgers University Coastal Ocean Observation Lab (RU COOL)

New ocean observing capabilities are allowing researchers to collect spatial data over sustained periods on broad continental shelves.  We have deployed several of these technologies on the Mid-Atlantic Bight (MAB) for over the decade in order to study the physical forcing of primary productivity.  Stratification of the shelf is the dominant feature regulating the phytoplankton productivity therefore it is not surprising that the late fall and winter months are associated with the largest and most recurrent phytoplankton blooms on the MAB.  These blooms occur on the inner shelf and the offshore extent is likely limited by light limitation in the deeper waters.  Circulation, and phytoplankton transport, is largely wind-driven which varies spatially and with season.  Productivity patterns have appeared to change over the last decade reflecting a transition which we hypothesize reflects a shift to a positive phase of the Atlantic Multidecadal Oscillation which has increased the frequency and duration of sustained winds on the MAB during the winter.