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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.

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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 1985-09-01

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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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