Tuesday, December 27, 2005

Thick phytoplankton water!

I had talked back before Christmas about how the water was changing color here and how it was due to the ice cover protecting the phytoplankton.  Well today we had the chance to go see how this has affected the sampling out at stations B and E.  Our sample depths are determined by the passage of light down into the water column on that specific day.  The deepest depth that we take is down as far as 0.5% of the light measured at the surface and is transmitted through the water column.  We started sampling earlier in the season to as deep as 90 meters out at station E and our deepest depth today was 14 meters.  That is how much growth has happened out at these stations since the beginning of the season.  But before the ice came in the lowest depth at E was 60 meters.  Having been covered by ice for twenty days increased the organic growth, mostly phytoplankton, causing the passage of light to be greatly reduced thus is bringing our lowest depth to 14 meters.  The rapid growth of a bloom due to environmental conditions is a very exciting thing to observe.  

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