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Free Content Studies of Phytoplankton Ecology in Tropical and Subtropical Environments of the Atlantic Ocean. Part 2. Quantitative Studies of Phytoplankton Distribution in the Straits of Florida and its Relation to Physical Factors

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Three areas of the Florida Straits may be delimited by hydrographic data. These are the Continental Edge water in the western Straits, the Yucatan water in the eastern or Bahamian side of the Straits, and the zone of meandering between the two water masses.

Temperature-salinity and oxygen-sigma-t relationships demonstrate that the upper 200 m of the water column in Santaren Channel are essentially the same as in the Yucatan Channel and at Cat Cay.

A seasonal variation in phytoplankton standing crop has been demonstrated for six stations in the Florida Straits. Local physical factors at a given station cannot fully explain the observed variations, influence from other areas being a major contributing factor.

Similar seasonal variations for all stations also indicate a population which is essentially the same, with respect to numbers of individuals, for the two water masses present. This is exemplified by the cross-channel station relationships which exist with respect to hydrology and phytoplankton populations. This relationship may also indicate that both water masses have a similar origin and undergo essentially the same mode of modification with respect to the phytoplankton.

Phytoplankton maxima and major peaks demonstrate a significant coincidence with micropycnal surfaces, suggesting that a statistical correlation may exist.

Trends in the variation in vertical distribution of phytoplankton in the Florida Straits can be attributed to deep surface mixing, subsurface pockets of mixing, and vertical water movements over a shallow range of depth.

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: March 1, 1968

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  • The Bulletin of Marine Science is dedicated to the dissemination of high quality research from the world's oceans. All aspects of marine science are treated by the Bulletin of Marine Science, including papers in marine biology, biological oceanography, fisheries, marine affairs, applied marine physics, marine geology and geophysics, marine and atmospheric chemistry, and meteorology and physical oceanography.
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