02 Mar 2021

02 Mar 2021

Review status: this preprint is currently under review for the journal BG.

Impact of moderate energetic fine-scale dynamics on the phytoplankton community structure in the western Mediterranean Sea

Roxane Tzortzis1, Andrea M. Doglioli1, Stéphanie Barrillon1, Anne A. Petrenko1, Francesco d'Ovidio2, Lloyd Izard2, Melilotus Thyssen1, Ananda Pascual3, Bàrbara Barceló-Llull3, Frédéric Cyr4, Marc Tedetti1, Nagib Bhairy1, Pierre Garreau5, Franck Dumas6, and Gérald Gregori1 Roxane Tzortzis et al.
  • 1Aix Marseille Univ., Université de Toulon, CNRS, IRD, MIO, Marseille, France
  • 2Sorbonne Université, CNRS, IRD, MNHN, Laboratoire d’Océanographie et du Climat: Expérimentations et Approches Numériques (LOCEAN-IPSL), Paris, France
  • 3IMEDEA (CSIC-UIB), Instituto Mediterráneo de Estudios Avanzados, Esporles, Spain
  • 4Northwest Atlantic Fisheries Centre, Fisheries and Oceans Canada, St. John’s, NL, Canada
  • 5UMR 6523 CNRS, IFREMER, IRD, UBO, Laboratoire d’Océanographie Physique et Spatiale, Plouzané 29280, France
  • 6SHOM, Service Hydrographique et Océanographique de la Marine, 13 rue de Chatellier, CS592803, 29228 Brest, CEDEX 2, France

Abstract. Model simulations and remote sensing observations show that ocean dynamics at fine scales (1–100 km in space, day–weeks in time) strongly influence the distribution of phytoplankton. However, only few in situ samplings have been performed and most of them in boundary currents which may not be representative of less energetic regions. The PROTEVSMED-SWOT cruise took place in the moderately energetic waters of the western Mediterranean Sea, in the southern region of the Balearic Islands. Taking advantage of near-real time satellite information, a sampling strategy was defined in order to cross a frontal zone separating different water masses. Multi-parametric in situ sensors mounted on the vessel, on a towed fish and on an ocean glider were used to sample at high spatial resolution both physical and biogeochemical variables. A particular attention was put in adapting the sampling route, in order to also estimate the vertical velocities in the frontal area. Such a strategy was successful in sampling quasi-synoptically an oceanic area characterized by the presence of a narrow front with an associated vertical circulation. A multiparametric statistical analysis of the collected data identifies two water masses characterized by different abundances of several phytoplankton cytometric functional groups, as well as different contents in chlorophyll a and O2. Our study shows that the Lagrangian fronts induced by the fine-scale circulation, even if much weaker than the fronts occurring in boundary current systems, maintain a strong structuring effect on phytoplankton community by segregating different taxa at the surface.

Roxane Tzortzis et al.

Status: open (until 17 Apr 2021)

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Roxane Tzortzis et al.

Data sets

PROTEVS-MED field experiments: Very High Resolution Hydrographic Surveys in the Western Mediterranean Sea Dumas Franck, Garreau Pierre, Louazel Stephanie, Correard Stephanie, Fercoq Solenn, Le Menn Marc, Serpette Alain, Garnier Valerie, Stegner Alexandre, Le Vu Briac, Doglioli Andrea, and Gregori Gerald

Roxane Tzortzis et al.


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Short summary
This work analyzes an original high-resolution data set collected in the Mediterranean Sea. The major result is the impact of a fine-scale frontal structure on the distribution of phytoplankton groups, in an area of moderate energy with oligotrophic conditions. Our results provide an in situ confirmation of the findings obtained by previous modeling studies and remote sensing about the structuring effect of the fine-scale ocean dynamics on the structure of the phytoplankton community.