4th Dec, 2008

Phaeocystis bloom off North Devon

During late October at the National Centre for Ocean Forecasting (NCOF) workshop at Croyde Bay, Momme Butenschon took some pictures of this phaeocysis bloom around Baggy Point.  The night before there had been some strong winds and the phaeocystis was characteristically frothy at the edges (shore edge especially – but you can see the far edge of the bloom marked with a white slick).  If you look closely you can see some discolouration of the water caused by the bloom.  Might be worth looking at the satellite images to see if there is any evidence of raised chlorophyll?


Tim, MommeI’ve just noticed your entry in the WCO blog sorry for not paying attention over the last few months! Did you ever  confirm phaeocystis or elevated chlorophyll? It looks to me and I would suspect that the discoloured water is a result of mixing/run off from the shore following the strong winds and the foam to be associated with that and not break down of a bloom – always ready to be proved wrong though. Phaeocystis I think tends to be more associated with spring/early summer – certainly for english channel.


Andy – no problem for not paying attention. It is good to see some discussion on the blog!  The appearance of phaeocystis was not ever categorically confirmed by in situ sampling in this case.  I would be prepared to go along with your hypothesis as the weather had been fairly stormy for the few days before – so some of the discolouration could be simply resuspended sedimentary material rather than a biological feature.  The wind and wave mixing could also explain the scum lines.  It would be interesting to know if there is any literature references on phaeocystis in the Bristol Channel – someone out there must know!



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