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Authors: Vichi, M.* 
Nencioli, F.* 
Masina, S.* 
Title: A process-oriented model study of equatorial Pacific phytoplankton: the role of iron supply and tropical instability waves
Issue Date: 2007
Keywords: biogeochemical model
tropical instability waves
equatorial Pacific
Subject Classification03. Hydrosphere::03.01. General::03.01.02. Equatorial and regional oceanography 
03. Hydrosphere::03.01. General::03.01.07. Physical and biogeochemical interactions 
03. Hydrosphere::03.04. Chemical and biological::03.04.01. Biogeochemical cycles 
03. Hydrosphere::03.04. Chemical and biological::03.04.04. Ecosystems 
Abstract: The response of phytoplankton growth to iron supply and its modulation by large scale circulation and tropical instability waves (TIWs) in the eastern equatorial Pacific has been investigated with an ocean biogeochemistry model. This process study shows that iron can be efficiently advected from the New Guinea shelf through the Equatorial Undercurrent (EUC) to the eastern Pacific. In this region phytoplankton production is enhanced when an additional source of iron is applied in the New Guinea shelf and advected in the model by the EUC. In the eastern Pacific, phytoplankton variability is linked to TIWs activity, as revealed by a wavelet analysis of the total autotrophic carbon. The net local effect of the waves on phytoplankton can be either positive or negative depending on several fac- tors. In some cases the effect of the waves is to enhance iron availability in the euphotic zone leading to a net local increase of phytoplankton biomass, provided that the iron nu- tricline is sufficiently shallow to be reached by the wave vertical scale. In these cases it is also suggested that local maxima of phytoplankton observed in moorings off equator are sustained by advected iron and subsequent local production instead of being the result of concentration mechanisms.
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