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Open AccessArticle

Phytoplankton Size Structure in Association with Mesoscale Eddies off Central-Southern Chile: The Satellite Application of a Phytoplankton Size-Class Model

1
Programa de Postgrado en Oceanografía, Departamento de Oceanografía, Facultad de Ciencias Naturales y Oceanográficas, Universidad de Concepción, Casilla 160-C, Concepción 4070386, Chile
2
Instituto Milenio de Oceanografía (IMO), Universidad de Concepción, Concepción 4030000, Chile
3
Departamento de Oceanografía, Facultad de Ciencias Naturales y Oceanográficas, Universidad de Concepción, Barrio Universitario s/n, Concepción 4070386, Chile
4
Plymouth Marine Laboratory, Prospect Place, The Hoe, Plymouth PL1 3DH, UK
5
National Centre for Earth Observation, Plymouth Marine Laboratory, Prospect Place, The Hoe, Plymouth PL1 3DH, UK
6
Escuela de Ciencias del Mar, Pontificia Universidad Católica de Valparaíso, Valparaíso 2340000, Chile
7
Departamento de Geofísica, Universidad de Concepción, Barrio Universitario s/n, Concepción 4070386, Chile
8
COPAS-Sur Austral, Universidad de Concepción, Concepción 4030000, Chile
9
Instituto de Oceanografía y Cambio Global, Universidad de las Palmas de Gran Canaria, Las Palmas de Gran Canaria 35017, Spain
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Remote Sens. 2018, 10(6), 834; https://doi.org/10.3390/rs10060834
Received: 17 April 2018 / Revised: 11 May 2018 / Accepted: 22 May 2018 / Published: 25 May 2018
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Remote Sensing of Ocean Colour)
Understanding the influence of mesoscale and submesoscale features on the structure of phytoplankton is a key aspect in the assessment of their influence on marine biogeochemical cycling and cross-shore exchanges of plankton in Eastern Boundary Current Systems (EBCS). In this study, the spatio-temporal evolution of phytoplankton size classes (PSC) in surface waters associated with mesoscale eddies in the EBCS off central-southern Chile was analyzed. Chlorophyll-a (Chl-a) size-fractionated filtration (SFF) data from in situ samplings in coastal and coastal transition waters were used to tune a three-component (micro-, nano-, and pico-phytoplankton) model, which was then applied to total Chl-a satellite data (ESA OC-CCI product) in order to retrieve the Chl-a concentration of each PSC. A sea surface, height-based eddy-tracking algorithm was used to identify and track one cyclonic (sC) and three anticyclonic (ssAC1, ssAC2, sAC) mesoscale eddies between January 2014 and October 2015. Satellite estimates of PSC and in situ SFF Chl-a data were highly correlated (0.64 < r < 0.87), although uncertainty values for the microplankton fraction were moderate to high (50 to 100% depending on the metric used). The largest changes in size structure took place during the early life of eddies (~2 months), and no major differences in PSC between eddy center and periphery were found. The contribution of the microplankton fraction was ~50% (~30%) in sC and ssAC1 (ssAC2 and sAC) eddies when they were located close to the coast, while nanoplankton was dominant (~60–70%) and picoplankton almost constant (<20%) throughout the lifetime of eddies. These results suggest that the three-component model, which has been mostly applied in oceanic waters, is also applicable to highly productive coastal upwelling systems. Additionally, the PSC changes within mesoscale eddies obtained by this satellite approach are in agreement with results on phytoplankton size distribution in mesoscale and submesoscale features in this region, and are most likely triggered by variations in nutrient concentrations and/or ratios during the eddies’ lifetimes. View Full-Text
Keywords: phytoplankton size classes; remote sensing; mesoscale eddies; coastal upwelling system; size-fractionated filtration data; Eastern Boundary Current Systems phytoplankton size classes; remote sensing; mesoscale eddies; coastal upwelling system; size-fractionated filtration data; Eastern Boundary Current Systems
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Corredor-Acosta, A.; Morales, C.E.; Brewin, R.J.W.; Auger, P.-A.; Pizarro, O.; Hormazabal, S.; Anabalón, V. Phytoplankton Size Structure in Association with Mesoscale Eddies off Central-Southern Chile: The Satellite Application of a Phytoplankton Size-Class Model. Remote Sens. 2018, 10, 834.

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