Virginia Institute of Marine Science
We investigated the distribution and composition of particulate organic matter in waters from the northeast Chukchi Sea during two late summer periods (September 2016 and August 2017). During both cruises we measured a variety of properties (salinity, temperature, density, chlorophyll fluorescence and particle beam attenuation). We also collected individual water samples from specific depths and measured the concentrations of suspended particulate matter, particulate organic carbon and nitrogen, chlorophyll-a and pheophytin (a chlorophyll degradation product). These measurements revealed highly stratified conditions throughout the study area, with surface waters exhibiting relatively low particle and biomass concentrations, middepth waters with well-defined subsurface chlorophyll maxima and moderate biomass, and turbid bottom waters with intermediate concentrations of particulate organic carbon and elevated levels of pheophytin. Large contrasts in the composition of particulate materials in both cruises were related to the distribution of different regional water masses. In addition, we observed increases in biogeochemical tracers of phytoplankton production in response to downwelling- and upwelling-favorable wind events. Overall, our work suggests that under the right conditions, phytoplankton production may occur under highly stratified conditions both in surface and sub-surface waters, extending the productive season along Arctic marginal seas.
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Goni, Miguel A.; Juranek, Lauren W.; Sipler, Rachel E.; and Welch, Kylie A., Particulate Organic Matter Distributions in the Water Column of the Chukchi Sea During Late Summer (2021). JGR Oceans, 126(e2021JC017664).