Three-dimensional structure of a swarm of the salp Thalia democratica within a cold-core eddy off southeast Australia

Publication Type:
Journal Article
Journal of Geophysical Research: Oceans, 2011, 116 (12)
Issue Date:
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Swarms of the salp Thalia democratica periodically occur off southeast Australia following the austral spring bloom of phytoplankton. In October 2008 a filament of upwelled water was advected south by the adjacent East Australian Current and formed a 30km diameter cold-core eddy (CCE). The three-dimensional structure of a subsurface swarm of T. democratica within the eddy was examined using both oblique and vertical hauls and an optical plankton counter (OPC) deployed on a towed body. The CCE displayed distinct uplift of the nutricline and elevated fluorescence. Net samples show the zooplankton community was dominated by T. democratica, comprising 73%-88% of zooplankton abundance. The size distribution of T. democratica measured from net samples was 0.5-5mm and was used to interpret the OPC transects, which showed the swarm formed a 15km diameter disc located 20-40m deep in the center of the eddy. The maximum salp abundance was in the pycnocline and coincided with the subsurface fluorescence maximum. The mean abundance of T. democratica size particles within the disc was 5003 individuals m-3 (ind. m-3), contrasted with only 604 ind. m-3 at the outer edge of the eddy. The vertically concentrated and horizontally constrained disc-shaped salp swarm occurred at the interface of salp-bearing inner shelf water and nutrient-rich upwelled water in a CCE. The physical processes that formed the CCE on the inshore edge of the western boundary current led to the largest density of salps recorded. Copyright 2011 by the American Geophysical Union.
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