Modeling impact of mesoscale eddies on biological productivity in the South China Sea and Gulf of Alaska
Thursday March, 3, 2011
Redfield Auditorium - 12:00 Noon
Dr. Fei Chai
Professor of Oceanography, University of Maine
co-sponsored Biology Department and CINAR
Numerous mesoscale eddies occur each year in the South China Sea (SCS) and Gulf of Alaska (GoA), but their statistical characteristics and impact on biological productivity have never been systematically investigated. A Pacific basin-wide three-dimensional coupled physical-biological model has been developed and the results for the SCS and GoA are used to quantify the eddy activities and the subsequent nutrients and phytoplankton dynamics during the period of 1993-2007. This modeling study suggests that cyclonic eddies in the SCS are important sources of nutrients (nitrate and silicate) to the euphotic zone, which plays a significant role in regulating the biological productivity in the SCS. The mesoscale eddies in the Gulf of Alaska are important sources of iron to the euphotic zone, which play a significant role in regulating the biological productivity and biogeochemical cycles in the Gulf of Alaska.