The University of Maine Maine In-situ Sound & Color Lab
School of Marine Sciences
Organic Material in the Oregon Upwelling Zone: Distributions and Processes

The upwelling system off the Oregon coast is characterized by high biological productivity. Despite conceptual and quantitative advances in the understanding of upwelling systems, little is known about the processes that control distributions and fate of organic matter in such systems. As part of the Coastal Ocean Advances in Shelf Transport (COAST) project we studied distributions of chlorophyll and particulate and dissolved organic matter. These measurements were done in conjunction with high-resolution measurements of physical and chemical parameters. Preliminary results show high (but greatly variable in space and time) concentrations of chlorophyll, particulate organic carbon (POC) and particulate organic nitrogen (PON) at the surface. A persistent feature, observed over the shelf, is the presence of relatively elevated concentrations of chlorophyll (2-28 ug/l), POC (90-740 ug/l) and PON (18-125 ug/l) near the bottom (at 25-50 m). A minimum in the concentrations of these parameters was typically observed in the middle portion of the water column. POC and PON near the bottom are strongly correlated with chlorophyll. C/N ratios further suggest that this organic material is relatively fresh. Processes that could lead to observed distributions and their implications to the dynamics of organic material in the Oregon upwelling zone will be discussed.

Karp-Boss, L., P.A. Wheeler, B. Hales, and P. Covert, 2000. Organic Material in the Oregon Upwelling Zone: Distributions and Processes Ocean-Sciences, San-Antonio, TX, Jan.

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