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California Coastal Upwelling Onset Variability: Cross-Shore and Bottom-Up Propagation in the Planktonic Ecosystem

Figure 11

Schematic view of the upwelling ecosystem response to a perturbation that consists in early coastal upwelling winter-winds.

This sketch illustrates the simultaneous propagation of the coastal upwelling/nitrogen perturbation cross-shore in space and bottom-up across the trophic chain. Relative changes in physical and biological processes affected by the perturbation are presented. 1) In the nearshore region (green box) the response is moderate and characterized by an increase of upwelled nitrates input and a modest increase of large organisms' biomass (mainly large phytoplankton PL and large zooplankton ZL). Moreover, in this region, the perturbation is no more detectable after July. 2) In the Offshore region (grey box), the response to the perturbation is larger and visible at all trophic levels and most importantly at the highest level (predator zooplankton ZP). This is induced by a wind-driven cross-shore transport of the coastal perturbation that recycles en route. We note a high perturbation of ammonium concentrations and the activation of the recycling loop. In this region, the perturbation lasts much longer and persists all the year. 3) In the far offshore region (yellow box), the perturbation is still non negligible with a main signature at the highest trophic level, despite a significant weakening of the ecosystem response because of vertical export by sinking.

Figure 11