Introduction to the special section bio-optical and biogeochemical conditions in the South East Pacific in late 2004: the BIOSOPE program
Abstract. The objectives of the BIOSOPE (BIogeochemistry and Optics SOuth Pacific Experiment) project was to study, during the austral summer, the biological, biogeochemical and bio-optical properties of different trophic regimes in the South East Pacific: the eutrophic zone associated with the upwelling regime off the Chilean coast, the mesotrophic area associated with the plume of the Marquises Islands in the HNLC (High Nutrient Low Chlorophyll) waters of this subequatorial area, and the extremely oligotrophic area associated with the central part of the South Pacific Gyre (SPG). At the end of 2004, a 55-day international cruise with 32 scientists on board took place between Tahiti and Chile, crossing the SPG along a North-West South-East transect. This paper describes in detail the objectives of the BIOSOPE project, the implementation plan of the cruise, the main hydrological entities encountered along the ~8000 km South East Pacific transect, and ends with a general overview of the 32 other papers published in this special issue.