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August 2018 Issue

August 1, 2018

NGI Researchers Publish on "Processes Driving the Seasonal Cycle of Phytoplankton Biomass in the Gulf of Mexico"

The manuscript "Seasonal Patterns in Phytoplankton Biomass across the Northern and Deep Gulf of Mexico: A Numerical Model Study" by Fabian A. Gomez, Sang-Ki Lee, Yanyun Liu, Frank J. Hernandez Jr., Frank E. Muller-Karger, and John T. Lamkin, has been recently published in Biogeosciences (https://doi.org/10.5194/bg-15-3561-2018). This study examines underlying processes driving the seasonal cycle of phytoplankton biomass in the Gulf of Mexico, using a realistic high-resolution ocean-biogeochemical model that explicitly represent small- and large-size plankton components. The role of silica as limiting nutrient of diatom growth was simulated by first time in the region. The model results indicate that 1) diatom growth is silica-limited in the deep Gulf during winter, and near the Mississippi delta during spring, 2) zooplankton grazing plays a key role modulating phytoplankton biomass seasonality, 3) dominant physical processes influencing the local rate of change of phytoplankton are horizontal advection in the northern shelf and vertical mixing in the deep Gulf. The study highlights the needs for an integrated analysis of biologically and physically driven biomass fluxes to better understand phytoplankton biomass phenologies.