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Journal of Geophysical Research-Oceans

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Abstract/ Summary

In this study we examined the spatial and temporal variability of particulate organic material (POM) off Oregon during the upwelling season. High-resolution vertical profiling of beam attenuation was conducted along two cross-shelf transects. One transect was located in a region where the shelf is relatively uniform and narrow (off Cascade Head (CH)); the second transect was located in a region where the shelf is shallow and wide (off Cape Perpetua (CP)). In addition, water samples were collected for direct analysis of chlorophyll, particulate organic carbon (POC), and particulate organic nitrogen (PON). Beam attenuation was highly correlated with POC and PON. Striking differences in distribution patterns and characteristics of POM were observed between CH and CP. Off CH, elevated concentrations of chlorophyll and POC were restricted to the inner shelf and were highly variable in time. The magnitude of the observed short-term temporal variability was of the same order as that of the seasonal variability reported in previous studies. Elevated concentrations of nondegraded chlorophyll and POM were observed near the bottom. Downwelling and rapid sinking are two mechanisms by which phytoplankton cells can be delivered to the bottom before being degraded. POM may be then transported across the shelf via the benthic nepheloid layer. Along the CP transect, concentrations of POM were generally higher than they were along the CH transect and extended farther across the shelf. Characteristics of surface POM, namely, C: N ratios and carbon: chlorophyll ratios, differed between the two sites. These differences can be attributed to differences in shelf circulation.

Citation/Publisher Attribution

Karp-Boss L, Wheeler PA, Hales B, Covert P. Distributions and Variability of Particulate Organic Matter in a Coastal Upwelling System. Journal of Geophysical Research-Oceans. 2004;109: C09010. To view the published open abstract, go to and enter the DOI.

Publisher Statement

Copyright 2004 American Geophysical Union.




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