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Free Content Studies of Phytoplankton Ecology in Tropical and Subtropical Environments of the Atlantic Ocean. Part 3. Phytoplankton Communities in the Providence Channels and the Tongue of the Ocean

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Quantitative and qualitative studies were made of the phytoplankton distribution at four stations in the Providence Channel region of the Bahamas. The stations were situated: (1) in the Atlantic east of the Abacos, (2) in Northeast Providence Channel, (3) in the Tongue of the Ocean, and (4) in Northwest Providence Channel. The stations were sampled quarterly to a depth of 200 meters, and salinity and temperature data were collected at the same time.

There were considerable differences in the vertical and horizontal distribution of the phytoplankton and of the hydrology in the two years of the study.

Certain endemic species such as Hemiaulus spp., Rhiwsolenia spp., and Coscinodiscus excentricus, among the diatoms; and Podolampas spp., Ceratium teres, C. fusus, and Oxytoxum spp. were present in the area at all times in sufficient numbers to provide a bloom if the environment were favorable. Coccolithophores were the most frequent members of the community and formed a basic part of the microalgal community structure. Some oceanic species gave evidence of increasing strength of the Antilles Current component, and benthic or epontic species showed the presence of shallow-water intrusions which were so diluted that there was little confirmatory hydrological evidence. They and the oceanic species were used as evidence of mixing. One difficulty was the interpretation of data when present events in the phytoplankton community reflected past events in the hydrology, and when hydrological conditions had not yet produced their effects on the phytoplankton.

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: June 1, 1968

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