Freilich Mara

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  • Article
    Diversity of growth rates maximizes phytoplankton productivity in an eddying ocean
    (American Geophysical Union, 2022-01-20) Freilich, Mara ; Flierl, Glenn R. ; Mahadevan, Amala
    In the subtropical gyres, phytoplankton rely on eddies for transporting nutrients from depth to the euphotic zone. But, what controls the rate of nutrient supply for new production? We show that vertical nutrient flux both depends on the vertical motion within the eddying flow and varies nonlinearly with the phytoplankton growth rate. Flux is maximized when the growth rate matches the inverse of the decorrelation timescale for vertical motion. Using a three-dimensional ocean model and a linear nutrient uptake model, we find that phytoplankton productivity is maximized for a growth rate of 1/3 day−1, which corresponds to the timescale of submesoscale dynamics. Variability in the frequency of vertical motion across different physical features of the flow favors phytoplankton production with different growth rates. Such a growth-transport feedback can generate diversity in the phytoplankton community structure at submesoscales and higher net productivity in the presence of community diversity.
  • Technical Report
    UCTD and EcoCTD Observations from the CALYPSO Pilot Experiment (2018): Cruise and Data Report
    (Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, 2019-01) Dever, Mathieu ; Freilich, Mara ; Hodges, Benjamin A. ; Farrar, J. Thomas ; Lanagan, Thomas ; Mahadevan, Amala
    From May 27, 2018 to June 02, 2018, a scientific campaign was conducted in the Alboran Sea as part of an ONR Departmental Research Initiative, CALYPSO. The pilot cruise involved two ships: the R/V Socib, tasked with sampling fixed lines repeatedly, and the NRV Alliance that surveyed along the trajectory of Lagrangian platforms. A large variety of assets were deployed from the NRV Alliance, with the objective to identify coherent Lagrangian pathways from the surface ocean to interior. As part of the field campaign, an Underway-CTD (UCTD) system was used to measure vertical profiles of salinity, temperature and other properties while steaming, to achieve closely spaced measurements in the horizontal along the ship's track. Both a UCTD probe and an biooptically augmented probe, named EcoCTD, were deployed. The EcoCTD collects concurrent physical and bio-optical observations. This report focuses exclusively on the data collected by these two underway systems. It describes th e datasets collected during the pilot cruise, as well as the important processing steps developed for the EcoCTD.
  • Article
    Adrift upon a salinity-stratified sea : a view of upper-ocean processes in the Bay of Bengal during the southwest monsoon
    (The Oceanography Society, 2016-06) Lucas, Andrew J. ; Nash, Jonathan D. ; Pinkel, Robert ; MacKinnon, Jennifer A. ; Tandon, Amit ; Mahadevan, Amala ; Omand, Melissa M. ; Freilich, Mara ; Sengupta, Debasis ; Ravichandran, M. ; Le Boyer, Arnaud
    The structure and variability of upper-ocean properties in the Bay of Bengal (BoB) modulate air-sea interactions, which profoundly influence the pattern and intensity of monsoonal precipitation across the Indian subcontinent. In turn, the bay receives a massive amount of freshwater through river input at its boundaries and from heavy local rainfall, leading to a salinity-stratified surface ocean and shallow mixed layers. Small-scale oceanographic processes that drive variability in near-surface BoB waters complicate the tight coupling between ocean and atmosphere implicit in this seasonal feedback. Unraveling these ocean dynamics and their impact on air-sea interactions is critical to improving the forecasting of intraseasonal variability in the southwest monsoon. To that end, we deployed a wave-powered, rapidly profiling system capable of measuring the structure and variability of the upper 100 m of the BoB. The evolution of upper-ocean structure along the trajectory of the instrument’s roughly two-week drift, along with direct estimates of vertical fluxes of salt and heat, permit assessment of the contributions of various phenomena to temporal and spatial variability in the surface mixed layer depth. Further, these observations suggest that the particular “barrier-layer” stratification found in the BoB may decrease the influence of the wind on mixing processes in the interior, thus isolating the upper ocean from the interior below, and tightening its coupling to the atmosphere above.
  • Article
    Diagnosing frontal dynamics from observations using a variational approach
    (American Geophysical Union, 2022-09-30) Cutolo, Eugenio ; Pascual, Ananda ; Ruiz, Simón ; Johnston, T. M. Shaun ; Freilich, Mara ; Mahadevan, Amala ; Shcherbina, Andrey ; Poulain, Pierre‐Marie ; Ozgokmen, Tamay ; Centurioni, Luca R. ; Rudnick, Daniel L. ; D’Asaro, Eric
    Intensive hydrographic and horizontal velocity measurements collected in the Alboran Sea enabled us to diagnose the three‐dimensional dynamics of a frontal system. The sampled domain was characterized by a 40 km diameter anticyclonic eddy, with an intense front on its eastern side, separating the Atlantic and Mediterranean waters. Here, we implemented a multi‐variate variational analysis (VA) to reconstruct the hydrographic fields, combining the 1‐km horizontal resolution of the Underway Conductivity‐Temperature‐Depth (CTD) system with information on the flow shape from the Acoustic Doppler Current Profiler velocities. One advantage of the VA is given by the physical constraint, which preserves fine‐scale gradients better than the classical optimal interpolation (OI). A comparison between real drifter trajectories and virtual particles advected in the mapping quantified the improvements in the VA over the OI, with a 15% larger skill score. Quasi‐geostrophic (QG) and semi‐geostrophic (SG) omega equations enabled us to estimate the vertical velocity (w) which reached 40 m/day on the dense side of the front. How nutrients and other passive tracers leave the mixed‐layer and subduct is estimated with 3D advection from the VA, which agreed with biological sampling from traditional CTD casts at two eddy locations. Downwelling warm filaments are further evidence of subduction, in line with the w from SG, but not with QG. SG better accounted for the along‐isopycnal component of w in agreement with another analysis made on isopycnal coordinates. The multi‐platform approach of this work and the use of variational methods improved the characterization and understanding of (sub)‐mesoscale frontal dynamics.
  • Article
    Freshwater in the Bay of Bengal : its fate and role in air-sea heat exchange
    (The Oceanography Society, 2016-06) Mahadevan, Amala ; Spiro Jaeger, Gualtiero ; Freilich, Mara ; Omand, Melissa M. ; Shroyer, Emily L. ; Sengupta, Debasis
    The strong salinity stratification in the upper 50–80 m of the Bay of Bengal affects the response of the upper ocean to surface heat fluxes. Using observations from November to December 2013, we examine the effect of surface cooling on the temperature structure of the ocean in a one-dimensional framework. The presence of freshwater adds gravitational stability to the density stratification and prevents convective overturning, even when the surface becomes cooler than the subsurface. This stable salinity stratification traps heat within subsurface layers. The ocean’s reluctance to release the heat trapped within these subsurface warm layers can contribute to delayed rise in surface temperature and heat loss from the ocean as winter progresses. Understanding the dispersal of freshwater throughout the bay can help scientists assess its potential for generating the anomalous temperature response. We use the Aquarius along-track surface salinity and satellite-derived surface velocities to trace the evolution and modification of salinity in the Lagrangian frame of water parcels as they move through the bay with the mesoscale circulation. This advective tracking of surface salinities provides a Lagrangian interpolation of the monthly salinity fields in 2013 and shows the evolution of the freshwater distribution. The along-trajectory rate of salinification of water as it leaves the northern bay is estimated and interpreted to result from mixing processes that are likely related to the host of submesoscale signatures observed during our field campaigns.
  • Article
    Decomposition of vertical velocity for nutrient transport in the upper ocean
    (American Meteorological Society, 2019-06-11) Freilich, Mara ; Mahadevan, Amala
    Within the pycnocline, where diapycnal mixing is suppressed, both the vertical movement (uplift) of isopycnal surfaces and upward motion along sloping isopycnals supply nutrients to the euphotic layer, but the relative importance of each of these mechanisms is unknown. We present a method for decomposing vertical velocity w into two components in a Lagrangian frame: vertical velocity along sloping isopycnal surfaces and the adiabatic vertical velocity of isopycnal surfaces . We show that , where is the isopycnal slope and is the geometric aspect ratio of the flow, and that accounts for 10%–25% of the total vertical velocity w for isopycnal slopes representative of the midlatitude pycnocline. We perform the decomposition of w in a process study model of a midlatitude eddying flow field generated with a range of isopycnal slopes. A spectral decomposition of the velocity components shows that while is the largest contributor to vertical velocity, is of comparable magnitude at horizontal scales less than about 10 km, that is, at submesoscales. Increasing the horizontal grid resolution of models is known to increase vertical velocity; this increase is disproportionately due to better resolution of , as is shown here by comparing 1- and 4-km resolution model runs. Along-isopycnal vertical transport can be an important contributor to the vertical flux of tracers, including oxygen, nutrients, and chlorophyll, although we find weak covariance between vertical velocity and nutrient anomaly in our model.
  • Preprint
    Species co-occurrence networks : can they reveal trophic and non-trophic interactions in ecological communities?
    ( 2017-12-21) Freilich, Mara ; Wieters, Evie ; Broitman, Bernardo R. ; Marquet, Pablo A. ; Navarrete, Sergio A.
    Co-occurrence methods are increasingly utilized in ecology to infer networks of species interactions where detailed knowledge based on empirical studies is difficult to obtain. Their use is particularly common, but not restricted to, microbial networks constructed from metagenomic analyses. In this study, we test the efficacy of this procedure by comparing an inferred network constructed using spatially intensive co-occurrence data from the rocky intertidal zone in central Chile to a well-resolved, empirically-based, species interaction network from the same region. We evaluated the overlap in the information provided by each network and whether there is a bias for co-occurrence data to better detect known trophic or non-trophic, positive or negative interactions. We found a poor correspondence between the co-occurrence network and the known species interactions with overall sensitivity (probability of true link detection) equal to 0.469, and specificity (true non-interaction) equal to 0.527. The ability to detect interactions varied with interaction type. Positive non-trophic interactions such as commensalism and facilitation were detected at the highest rates. These results demonstrate that co-occurrence networks do not represent well classical ecological networks in which interactions are defined by direct observations or experimental manipulations. Co-occurrence networks provide information about the joint spatial effects of environmental conditions, recruitment, and, to some extent, biotic interactions, and among the latter, they tend to better detect niche-expanding interactions such as positive non-trophic interactions including habitat engineering. Detection of links (sensitivity or specificity) was not higher for well-known intertidal keystone species than for the rest of consumers in the community. Thus, as observed in previous empirical and theoretical studies, patterns of interactions in co-occurrence networks must be interpreted with caution, especially when extending interaction-based ecological theory to interpret network variability and stability. Co-occurrence networks may be particularly valuable for analysis of community dynamics that blends interactions and environment, rather than pairwise interactions alone.
  • Article
    Coherent pathways for subduction from the surface mixed layer at ocean fronts
    (American Geophysical Union, 2021-04-04) Freilich, Mara ; Mahadevan, Amala
    In frontal zones, water masses that are tens of kilometers in extent with origins in the mixed layer can be identified in the pycnocline for days to months. Here, we explore the pathways and mechanisms of subduction, the process by which water from the surface mixed layer makes its way into the pycnocline, using a submesoscale-resolving numerical model of a mesoscale front. By identifying Lagrangian trajectories of water parcels that exit the mixed layer, we study the evolution of dynamical properties from a statistical standpoint. Velocity- and buoyancy-gradients increase as water parcels experience both mesoscale (geostrophic) and submesoscale (ageostrophic) frontogenesis and subduct beneath the mixed layer into the stratified pycnocline along isopycnals that outcrop in the mixed layer. Subduction is transient and occurs in coherent regions along the front, the spatial and temporal scales of which influence the scales of the subducted water masses in the pycnocline. An examination of specific subduction events reveals a range of submesoscale features that support subduction. Contrary to the forced submesoscale processes that sequester low potential vorticity (PV) anomalies in the interior, we find that PV can be elevated in subducting water masses. The rate of subduction is of similar magnitude to previous studies (∼100 m/year), but the Lagrangian evolution of properties on water parcels and pathways that are unraveled in this study emphasize the role of submesoscale dynamics coupled with mesoscale frontogenesis.
  • Article
    Bay of Bengal : 2013 northeast monsoon upper-ocean circulation
    (The Oceanography Society, 2016-06) Gordon, Arnold L. ; Shroyer, Emily L. ; Mahadevan, Amala ; Sengupta, Debasis ; Freilich, Mara
    The upper 200 m of the two northern Indian Ocean embayments, the Bay of Bengal (BoB) and the Arabian Sea (AS), differ sharply in their salinity stratification, as the Asian monsoon injects massive amounts of freshwater into the BoB while removing freshwater via evaporation from the AS. The ocean circulation transfers salt from the AS to the BoB and exports freshwater from the BoB to mitigate the salinity difference and reach a quasi-steady state, albeit with strong seasonality. An energetic field of mesoscale features and an intrathermocline eddy was observed within the BoB during the R/V Revelle November and December 2013 Air-Sea Interactions Regional Initiative cruises, marking the early northeast monsoon phase. Mesoscale features, which display a surprisingly large thermohaline range within their confines, obscure the regional surface water and thermohaline stratification patterns, as observed by satellite and Argo profilers. Ocean processes blend the fresh and salty features along and across density surfaces, influencing sea surface temperature and air-sea flux. Comparing the Revelle observations to the Argo data reveals a general westward migration of mesoscale features across the BoB.
  • Article
    EcoCTD for profiling oceanic physical-biological properties from an underway ship
    (American Meteorological Society, 2020-05-08) Dever, Mathieu ; Freilich, Mara ; Farrar, J. Thomas ; Hodges, Benjamin A. ; Lanagan, Thomas ; Baron, Andrew J. ; Mahadevan, Amala
    The study of ocean dynamics and biophysical variability at submesoscales of O(1) km and O(1) h raises several observational challenges. To address these by underway sampling, we recently developed a towed profiler called the EcoCTD, capable of concurrently measuring both hydrographic and bio-optical properties such as oxygen, chlorophyll fluorescence, and optical backscatter. The EcoCTD presents an attractive alternative to currently used towed platforms due to its light footprint, versatility in the field, and ease of deployment and recovery without cranes or heavy-duty winches. We demonstrate its use for gathering high-quality data at submesoscale spatiotemporal resolution. A dataset of bio-optical and hydrographic properties, collected with the EcoCTD during field trials in 2018, highlights its scientific potential for the study of physical–biological interactions at submesoscales.
  • Article
    Grazing behavior and winter phytoplankton accumulation
    (European Geosciences Union, 2021-10-18) Freilich, Mara ; Mignot, Alexandre ; Flierl, Glenn R. ; Ferrari, Raffaele
    Recent observations have shown that phytoplankton biomass increases in the North Atlantic during winter, even when the mixed layer is deepening and light is limited. Current theories suggest that this is due to a release from grazing pressure. Here we demonstrate that the often-used grazing models that are linear at low phytoplankton concentration do not allow for a wintertime increase in phytoplankton biomass. However, mathematical formulations of grazing as a function of phytoplankton concentration that are quadratic at low concentrations (or more generally decrease faster than linearly as phytoplankton concentration decreases) can reproduce the fall to spring transition in phytoplankton, including wintertime biomass accumulation. We illustrate this point with a minimal model for the annual cycle of North Atlantic phytoplankton designed to simulate phytoplankton concentration as observed by BioGeoChemical-Argo (BGC-Argo) floats in the North Atlantic. This analysis provides a mathematical framework for assessing hypotheses of phytoplankton bloom formation.
  • Thesis
    Vertical fluxes in the upper ocean
    (Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, 2021-09) Freilich, Mara ; Mahadevan, Amala
    Oceanic fronts at the mesoscale and submesoscale are associated with enhanced vertical motion, which strengthens their role in global biogeochemical cycling as hotspots of primary production and subduction of carbon from the surface to the interior. Using process study models, theory, and field observations of biogeochemical tracers, this thesis improves understanding of submesoscale vertical tracer fluxes and their influence on carbon cycling. Unlike buoyancy, vertical transport of biogeochemical tracers can occur both due to the movement of isopycnals and due to motion along sloping isopycnals. We decompose the vertical velocity below the mixed layer into two components in a Lagrangian frame: vertical velocity along sloping isopycnal surfaces and the adiabatic vertical velocity of isopycnal surfaces and demonstrate that vertical motion along isopycnal surfaces is particularly important at submesoscales (1-10 km). The vertical flux of nutrient, and consequently the new production of phytoplankton depends not just on the vertical velocity but on the relative time scales of vertical transport and nutrient uptake. Vertical nutrient flux is maximum when the biological timescale of phytoplankton growth matches the vertical velocity frequency. Export of organic matter from the surface and the interior requires water parcels to cross the mixed layer base. Using Lagrangian analysis, we study the dynamics of this process and demonstrate that geostrophic and ageostrophic frontogenesis drive subduction along density surfaces across the mixed layer base. Along-front variability is an important factor in subduction. Both the physical and biological modeling studies described above are used to interpret observations from three research cruises in the Western Mediterranean. We sample intrusions of high chlorophyll and particulate organic carbon below the euphotic zone that are advected downward by 100 meters on timescales of days to weeks. We characterize the community composition in these subsurface intrusions at a lateral resolution of 1–10 km. We observe systematic changes in community composition due to the changing light environment and differential decay of the phytoplankton communities in low-light environments, along with mixing. We conclude that advective fluxes could make a contribution to carbon export in subtropical gyres that is equal to the sinking flux.
  • Technical Report
    CALYPSO 2019 Cruise Report: field campaign in the Mediterranean
    (Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, 2020-01) Mahadevan, Amala ; D'Asaro, Eric A. ; Allen, John T. ; Almaraz García, Pablo ; Alou-Font, Eva ; Aravind, Harilal Meenambika ; Balaguer, Pau ; Caballero, Isabel ; Calafat, Noemi ; Carbornero, Andrea ; Casas, Benjamin ; Castilla, Carlos ; Centurioni, Luca R. ; Conley, Margaret ; Cristofano, Gino ; Cutolo, Eugenio ; Dever, Mathieu ; Enrique Navarro, Angélica ; Falcieri, Francesco ; Freilich, Mara ; Goodwin, Evan ; Graham, Raymond ; Guigand, Cedric ; Hodges, Benjamin A. ; Huntley, Helga ; Johnston, T. M. Shaun ; Lankhorst, Matthias ; Lermusiaux, Pierre F. J. ; Lizaran, Irene ; Mirabito, Chris ; Miralles, A. ; Mourre, Baptiste ; Navarro, Gabriel ; Ohmart, Michael ; Ouala, Said ; Ozgokmen, Tamay M. ; Pascual, Ananda ; Pou, Joan Mateu Horrach ; Poulain, Pierre Marie ; Ren, Alice ; Tarry, Daniel R. ; Rudnick, Daniel L. ; Rubio, M. ; Ruiz, Simon ; Rypina, Irina I. ; Tintore, Joaquin ; Send, Uwe ; Shcherbina, Andrey Y. ; Torner, Marc ; Salvador-Vieira, Guilherme ; Wirth, Nikolaus ; Zarokanellos, Nikolaos
    This cruise aimed to identify transport pathways from the surface into the interior ocean during the late winter in the Alborán sea between the Strait of Gibraltar (5°40’W) and the prime meridian. Theory and previous observations indicated that these pathways likely originated at strong fronts, such as the one that separates salty Mediterranean water and the fresher water in owing from the Atlantic. Our goal was to map such pathways and quantify their transport. Since the outcropping isopycnals at the front extend to the deepest depths during the late winter, we planned the cruise at the end of the Spring, prior to the onset of thermal stratification of the surface mixed layer.
  • Article
    Inertial oscillations and frontal processes in an Alboran Sea Jet: effects on divergence and vertical transport
    (American Geophysical Union, 2023-02-15) Esposito, Giovanni ; Donnet, Sebastien ; Berta, Maristella ; Shcherbina, Andrey Y. ; Freilich, Mara ; Centurioni, Luca ; D’Asaro, Eric A. ; Farrar, J. Thomas ; Johnston, T. M. Shaun ; Mahadevan, Amala ; Özgökmen, Tamay ; Pascual, Ananda ; Poulain, Pierre‐Marie ; Ruiz, Simón ; Tarry, Daniel R. ; Griffa, Annalisa
    Vertical transport pathways in the ocean are still only partially understood despite their importance for biogeochemical, pollutant, and climate applications. Detailed measurements of a submesoscale frontal jet in the Alboran Sea (Mediterranean Sea) during a period of highly variable winds were made using cross‐frontal velocity, density sections and dense arrays of surface drifters deployed across the front. The measurements show divergences as large as ±f implying vertical velocities of order 100 m/day for a ≈ 20 m thick surface layer. Over the 20 hr of measurement, the divergences made nearly one complete oscillation, suggesting an important role for near‐inertial oscillations. A wind‐forced slab model modified by the observed background frontal structure and with initial conditions matched to the data produces divergence oscillations and pattern compatible with that observed. Significant differences, though, are found in terms of mean divergence, with the data showing a prevalence of negative, convergent values. Despite the limitations in data sampling and model uncertainties, this suggests the contribution of other dynamical processes. Turbulent boundary layer processes are discussed, as a contributor to enhance the observed convergent phase. Water mass properties suggest that symmetric instabilities might also be present but do not play a crucial role, while downward stirring along displaced isopycnals is observed.Plain Language SummaryVertical transport pathways are essential for the exchange of properties between the surface and the deeper layers of the ocean. Despite the recognized role of vertical dynamics in biogeochemical and climate applications, it is still only partially understood. This is principally due to observational challenges. Vertical transport pathways are generally very localized processes and are associated with vertical velocities comparable to instrumental uncertainty. In this work, we focus on vertical processes occurring along a front at the edge of an eddy in the Mediterranean Sea. The paper combines the analysis of multiple observations with the use of an idealized numerical model to isolate and study surface divergence patterns. These analyses allow the investigation of the role of the wind forcing and of small‐scale ocean processes in vertical transport.Key PointsDivergence and vertical velocity oscillations are observed at a submesoscale front on the edge of an anticyclone in the Alboran SeaNear‐inertial oscillations play a major role in the observed divergence oscillatory pattern as suggested by a modified slab model of a wind‐forced frontal jetTurbulent boundary layer processes and symmetric instabilities can contribute to differences between modeled and observed vertical dynamics