Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute

Cross-shelf transport processes: Observations from the Southern California Bight

Erika McPhee-Shaw, Ph.D.
 Moss Landing Marine Laboratories

Wednesday, November 17, 2004
Pacific Forum 3:00 p.m.

Inner-shelf moorings maintained by the Santa Barbara Channel Long Term Ecological Research (SBC-LTER) project reveal the temporal variability of mechanisms for cross-shelf transport of nutrients to kelp reefs in the Southern California Bight. Spring coastal upwelling events, generally between March and May, are the primary source of nutrients. However, other processes, such as internal wave transport, are important during the summer and fall seasons when upwelling is infrequent or nonexistent. Two years of data allow us to address interannual variability in features such as the timing of the onset of upwelling, spatial variability in upwelling response, and the nitrate levels associated with upwelling events. Comparison between oceanographic data and time series of tissue nitrogen in local kelp plants demonstrate a relationship between summer kelp growth and the duration of upwelling during the preceding spring.