Articles | Volume 6, issue 2
05 Feb 2009
 | 05 Feb 2009

On the trophic regimes of the Mediterranean Sea: a satellite analysis

F. D'Ortenzio and M. Ribera d'Alcalà

Abstract. The ten years of the SeaWiFS satellite surface chlorophyll concentration observations, presently available, were used to characterize the biogeography of the Mediterranean Sea and the seasonal cycle of the surface biomass in different areas of the basin. The K-means cluster analysis was applied on the satellite time-series of chlorophyll concentration. The resulting coherent patterns were then explained on the basis of the present knowledge of the basin's functioning. Winter biomass enhancements were shown to occur in most of the basin and last for 2–3 months depending on the region. Classical spring bloom regimes were also observed, regularly in the North Western Mediterranean, and intermittently in four other specific areas.

The geographical correspondence between specific clusters and regions showing high values of mean chlorophyll concentration indicates that, at least in the Mediterranean Sea, accumulations of phytoplankton are observed only where specific temporal trends are present.

Final-revised paper