Influence of coastal upwelling on micro-phytoplankton variability at Valparaíso Bay (~33ºS), Central Chile
Landaeta, Mauricio F.
In this work 10 years of data (1986-1996) from a fixed station located in the northern part of Valparaíso Bay (33º00’S; 71º35’W) were analysed to study the influence of coastal upwelling activity on the temporal variation of micro-phytoplankton (20-200 μm) and their relationship with oceanographic conditions. The upwelling activity at the bay was associated to semi-annual wind regime with an intensification of upwelling-favourable S-SW winds from September to March followed by a decrease and the occurrence of downwelling events from April to August. Oceanographic conditions showed the ascent of cold, nutrient-rich salty water in spring (September-November). However, during summertime under highest upwelling index, thermal stratification conditions were registered. This stratification might be associated to either the solar radiation or the presence of an upwelling shadow area in the bay. The upwelling period had the highest micro-phytoplankton abundance mainly dominated by diatoms. This period was associated with an increase in biomass and richness in the bay. Meanwhile during non-upwelling period —under homogenous conditions of temperature, salinity and nutrients— an increase in diversity (but low abundance and richness) associated to dinoflagellates and silicoflagellates was noted. Therefore, the results suggest the presence of a bi-modal regime of micro-phytoplankton in the bay in response to changes in oceanographic conditions related to local wind forcing and mixing/stratification.