February 11 2011

1:00 pm 300A La Kretz Hall

Lawrence (Larry) W. Harding

Climate Forcing of Phytoplankton Floral Composition, Biomass, and Primary Productivity in Mid-Atlantic Estuaries


Historical and recent data on floral composition, biomass, and primary productivity by phytoplankton in Chesapeake Bay and Albemarle-Pamlico Sound are used to document significant long-term trends in the post- World War II period. These trends are viewed against a backdrop of strong climatic forcing that evokes a high degree of seasonal to interannual variability. Much of this variability reflects strong forcing by freshwater flow and commensurate nutrient loading. This presentation draws on data sources that include historical observations, monitoring cruises, individual research programs, and aircraft remote sensing of ocean color. I will discuss climatic perturbations consisting of the drought-flood cycle, tropical storms, and hurricanes that underlie phytoplankton dynamics in contrasting ecosystems. Data from these sources are being combined with climate analyses and biogeochemical modeling to support our current understanding of phytoplankton dynamics in mid-Atlantic estuaries.











































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































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