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Free Content Primary Productivity in the Caribbean Sea off Jamaica and the Tropical North Atlantic off Barbados

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Monthly observations of primary productivity and the related hydrographic and nutrient characteristics have been made at offshore sites near Jamaica and Barbados for more than two years. The annual rate of production was relatively low at Jamaica. Gross primary production varied from 0.08 g C/m2/day to 0.52 g C/m2/day, and averaged 0.18 g C/m2/day, or 66 g C/m2/year. Net primary production did not exceed 0.28 g C/m2/day (range, 0.03-0.28 g C/m2/day). Average daily production was 0.11 g C/m2, or 40 g C/m2/year. At Barbados, gross primary production was considerably higher than at Jamaica, ranging from 0.19 to 0.62 g C/m2/day and averaging 0.38 g C/m2/day, or 139 g C/m2/year. The annual level of production at Barbados is comparable to that determined for the Sargasso Sea off Bermuda by other investigators.

Some evidence of regularly recurring variations of a seasonal nature were seen in the magnitude of productivity at both sites. At Jamaica, short-term peaks in the late spring and fall alternated with periods of relatively low productivity during the summer and winter. Off Barbados, productivity increased during the spring, was relatively high in the summers of 1962 and 1963, and then dropped during the fall to low values which generally persisted throughout much of the winter.

The phytoplankton production is believed to be controlled primarily by the availability of nutrient salts. Nitrate, nitrite, and phosphate levels generally were low in the euphotic zone throughout most of the year. The temperature and salinity structure of these waters is such that there is little possibility of the relatively nutrient-rich, deeper waters mixing well with the waters of the upper 100 m.

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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 1968-03-01

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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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