9th Jan, 2013

Phytoplankton during 2012

From Claire Widdicombe:

The phytoplankton community at L4 started the year as a typical winter assemblage, low in abundance with small benthic and large pelagic species most common. The spring bloom began in earnest mid-March but did not appear to wane and continued for several months. Diversity of diatoms was high and a prolific bloom of Guinardia delicatula became infected with a small heterotrophic flagellate known as Pirsonia sp. Phaeocystis was also common. A marine slick along the SW coast especially at Plymouth at the end of May caused concern in the media. I suspect this was marine detritus from the prolonged phytoplankton bloom that had been re-suspended from the sea floor??

By mid summer the phytoplankton community resembled that typically associated with the autumn with long chain-forming centric and pennate diatoms. E. hux and Karenia bloomed for a short time in July. Unlike previous years there was another significant diatom bloom in the autumn which persisted through to November. There was also a second and prolonged coccolithophore bloom in September-December.

 So all-in-all another unusual year for the phytoplankton. Linked I assumed to the wet and turbulent (windy) weather?!

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