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Free Content Plankton and whaling ground dynamics in the Denmark Strait

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The area between longitude 24°W to 32°W and latitude 62°N to 66°N was investigated. Historical studies of whale feeding/migration and whaling, plus previous physical oceanographic records and satellite scans of the sea surface temperature lead to the discovery of a possible zone of unstable water between the 200-m and 1,000-m bathymetric contours west of Iceland in the Denmark Strait. A survey expedition was undertaken in June of 1981. Calculations from the survey data have revealed a mean water mass transport to the northwest at 2.3 × 103 m3/sec with an Ekman layer depth averaging 74 m. Studies of phytoplankton standing crop (cells/m3) and biomass (mg Chl-a/m3), zooplankton biomass as volume (liters/m3) and distribution of whales (number caught/1° latitude squares) reflected a distribution pattern for an upwelling. Since the feature was not coastal in nature but lies near the edge of the Iceland Island shelf it may be an example of shelf-break upwelling. The upwelling appeared to be responsible for developing a 34,000-km2 feeding ground.

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: September 1, 1985

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