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Phytoplankton dynamics in the eastern Caribbean Sea as detected with space remote sensing

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The Space Information Laboratory (SIL) of the Tropical Center for Earth and Space Studies of the University of Puerto Rico at Mayagüez (UPRM) has been collecting and processing satellite data since December of 1996. Satellite imagery from the Advanced Very High Resolution Radiometer (AVHRR) and the Sea viewing Wide Field of view Sensor (SeaWiFS) provides us with a new understanding of phytoplankton dynamics in the Caribbean region. SeaWiFS shows the intrusion of waters into the eastern Caribbean Sea from the Orinoco River during fall and from the Amazon River during spring-summer. Strong coastal upwelling in Venezuela produced by the trade winds during winter-spring is detected with the AVHRR. The satellite data suggest that these seasonal events may play an important role in phytoplankton fertilization of the eastern Caribbean Sea. SeaWiFS and hydrological data are also combined to evaluate the impact of hurricanes on phytoplankton distribution. The development of models for estimation of ocean primary productivity using SeaWiFS and AVHRR data is now in progress.
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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Bio-optical Oceanography Laboratory, Department of Marine Sciences University of Puerto Rico at Mayagüez Mayagüez, Puerto Rico 00681 USA

Publication date: 2004-04-01

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