Dynamics of an intense Alexandrium catenella red tide in the Gulf of Maine: satellite observations and numerical modeling
Stumpf, Richard P.
McGillicuddy, Dennis J.
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In July 2009, an unusually intense bloom of the toxic dinoflagellate Alexandrium catenella occurred in the Gulf of Maine. The bloom reached high concentrations (from hundreds of thousands to one million cells L−1) that discolored the water and exceeded normal bloom concentrations by a factor of 1000. Using Medium Resolution Imaging Spectrometer (MERIS) imagery processed to target chlorophyll concentrations (>2 µg L−1), patches of intense A. catenella concentration were identified that were consistent with the highly localized cell concentrations observed from ship surveys. The bloom patches were generally aligned with the edge of coastal waters with high-absorption. Dense bloom patches moved onshore in response to a downwelling event, persisted for approximately one week, then dispersed rapidly over a few days and did not reappear. Coupled physical-biological model simulations showed that wind forcing was an important factor in transporting cells onshore. Upward swimming behavior facilitated the horizontal cell aggregation, increasing the simulated maximum depth-integrated cell concentration by up to a factor of 40. Vertical convergence of cells, due to active swimming of A. catenella from the subsurface to the top layer, could explain the additional 25-fold intensification (25 × 40=1000-fold) needed to reach the bloom concentrations that discolored the water. A model simulation that considered upward swimming overestimated cell concentrations downstream of the intense aggregation. This discrepancy between model and observed concentrations suggested a loss of cells from the water column at a time that corresponded to the start of encystment. These results indicated that the joint effect of upward swimming, horizontal convergence, and wind-driven flow contributed to the red water event, which might have promoted the sexual reproduction event that preceded the encystment process.
© The Author(s), 2020. This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License. The definitive version was published in Li, Y., Stumpf, R. P., McGillicuddy, D. J.,Jr, & He, R. Dynamics of an intense Alexandrium catenella red tide in the Gulf of Maine: satellite observations and numerical modeling. Harmful Algae, 99, (2020): 101927, doi:10.1016/j.hal.2020.101927.
Suggested CitationLi, Y., Stumpf, R. P., McGillicuddy, D. J.,Jr, & He, R. (2020). Dynamics of an intense Alexandrium catenella red tide in the Gulf of Maine: satellite observations and numerical modeling. Harmful Algae, 99, 101927.
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