Pleskow Haley M.

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Haley M.

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  • Preprint
    Submesoscale hotspots of productivity and respiration : insights from high-resolution oxygen and fluorescence sections
    ( 2017-10) Stanley, Rachel H. R. ; McGillicuddy, Dennis J. ; Sandwith, Zoe O. ; Pleskow, Haley M.
    Modeling studies have shown that mesoscale and submesoscale processes can stimulate phytoplankton productivity and export production. Here, we present observations from an undulating, towed Video Plankton Recorder (VPR-II) in the tropical Atlantic. The VPR-II collected profiles of oxygen, fluorescence, temperature and salinity in the upper 140 m of the water column at a spatial resolution of 1 m in the vertical and <2 km in the horizontal. The data reveal remarkable "hotspots", i.e. locations 5 to 10 km wide which have elevated fluorescence and decreased oxygen, both of which are likely the result of intense submesoscale upwelling. Based on estimates of source water, estimated from identical temperature and salinity surfaces, hotspots are more often areas of net respiration than areas of net production — although the inferred changes in oxygen are subject to uncertainty in the determination of the source of the upwelled waters since the true source water may not have been sampled. We discuss the spatial distribution of these hotspots and present a conceptual model outlining their possible generation and decline. Simultaneous measurements of O2/Ar in the mixed layer from a shipboard mass spectrometer provide estimates of rates of surface net community production. We find that the subsurface biological hotspots are often expressed as an increase in mixed layer rates of net community production. Overall, the large number of these hotspots support the growing evidence that submesoscale processes are important drivers in upper ocean biological production.