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Ciencias marinas

versión impresa ISSN 0185-3880


LOPEZ-SANDOVAL, DC et al. Primary productivity in the eastern tropical Pacific off Cabo Corrientes, Mexico. Cienc. mar [online]. 2009, vol.35, n.2, pp. 169-182. ISSN 0185-3880.

The in situ primary productivity (PP) and phytoplankton biomass (chlorophyll a concentration, Chla) of the Cabo Corrientes region, in the eastern tropical Pacific off Mexico, were studied using data from three oceanographic cruises (May and November 2002, and June 2003). The coastal region (<60 km) was found to be affected by coastal upwelling, causing phytoplankton biomass and production rates in this region to be up to two times higher than at the offshore stations. The highest surface Chla values were registered in May 2002 (>2 mg m-3), when the mean PP was 361 mgC m-2 d-1. The highest PP values were recorded in June 2003, with a mean value of 447 mgC m-2 d-1, and the lowest in November 2002, with a mean value of 200 mgC m-2 d-1. Satellite ocean color images, supported by our field data, suggest that the area off Cabo Corrientes can be characterized by three periods: (1) a relatively intense upwelling period, with high Chla and PP (spring); (2) an upwelling relaxation period, when the highest PP values of the year were recorded (late spring-early summer); and (3) a summer-fall period, with strong stratification and lowest Chla and PP values. The high PP registered for the region off Cabo Corrientes during the spring season leads us to conclude that this is an area of high fertility, similar to other rich regions in the Pacific Ocean off Mexico.

Palabras llave : Cabo Corrientes; eastern tropical Pacific; phytoplankton biomass; primary productivity; upwelling.

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