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Hydrobiological responses of the North Eastern Arabian Sea during late winter and early spring inter-monsoons and the repercussions on open ocean blooms

  • K. B. Padmakumar (a1), Lathika Cicily Thomas (a1) (a2), K. G. Vimalkumar (a1), C. R. Asha Devi (a1), T. P. Maneesh (a1), Anilkumar Vijayan (a1), G. V. M. Gupta (a1) and M. Sudhakar (a1)...
Abstract

Winter cooling and persistent mixing for more than a quarter of year (November to early March) along the North Eastern Arabian Sea (NEAS) results in nutrient enrichment of the euphotic column thereby triggering biological production. Hydrographic characteristics of NEAS during Late Winter Monsoon (LWM) and Early Spring Inter Monsoon (ESIM) and the influence on biological production are overviewed here. Winter convective mixing signatures were evident during LWM with low SST (24°C), high SSS (36.4), deep mixed layers (>100 m) and increased surface nitrate (~1 µM). Open ocean waters observed high chlorophyll a (1–2 mg m−3) and microphytoplankton abundance (1.2–1.5 × 104 cells l−1). Diatoms and green Noctiluca scintillans were the major microphytoplankton identified. ESIM observed gradual stabilization of water column with curtailment of winter signatures and strengthening of Noctiluca scintillans blooms. Mesozooplankton biomass was higher during LWM and decreased towards ESIM with intensification of Noctiluca blooms. However during ESIM, abundance of gelatinous zooplankton occurred in the bloom region. Inter-annual variations were observed in the biological responses along with the hydrographic changes. Thus the convective process during winter monsoon and stabilization of the water column during ESIM plays a significant role in the production pattern of NEAS.

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Corresponding author
Correspondence should be addressed to: K. B. Padmakumar, Centre for Marine Living Resources and Ecology, Ministry of Earth Sciences, Kochi-37, Kerala, India email: kbpadmakumar@gmail.com
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