Internal tidal mixing as a control on continental margin ecosystems

J. Sharples, C. M. Moore, A. E. Hickman, P. M. Holligan, J. Tweddle, M. R. Palmer, J. H. Simpson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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Abstract

We show that a breaking internal tide at a shelf edge is a fundamental control on the structural and functional properties of ecosystems. Contrasts in vertical mixing of nitrate between the shelf and the open ocean correspond with horizontal and vertical changes in phytoplankton communities, with largest cells found in surface waters at the shelf edge. Intense fishing activity is commonly seen at continental shelf edges, targeting spawning fish stocks. We suggest that the internal tide, a globally ubiquitous physical process at steep shelf edge bathymetry, supports shelf edge fisheries by providing large-celled phytoplankton for first-feeding fish larvae. The repeatability of the internal tide removes fish from the need to time spawning with a spring bloom. Also, with large phytoplankton cells dominating particulate organic carbon export, the internal tides could be an important influence on spatial and temporal variability in patterns of global carbon sequestration in deep water and sediments.
Original languageEnglish
Article numberL23603
Number of pages5
JournalGeophysical Research Letters
Volume36
Issue number23
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2009

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ecosystems
continental shelves
shelf break
internal tide
shelves
continental margin
tides
phytoplankton
fishes
ecosystem
spawning
fishing
fisheries
larvae
bathymeters
carbon
deep water
particulate organic carbon
vertical mixing
fish

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Sharples, J., Moore, C. M., Hickman, A. E., Holligan, P. M., Tweddle, J., Palmer, M. R., & Simpson, J. H. (2009). Internal tidal mixing as a control on continental margin ecosystems. Geophysical Research Letters, 36(23), [L23603]. https://doi.org/10.1029/2009GL040683

Internal tidal mixing as a control on continental margin ecosystems. / Sharples, J.; Moore, C. M.; Hickman, A. E.; Holligan, P. M.; Tweddle, J.; Palmer, M. R.; Simpson, J. H.

In: Geophysical Research Letters, Vol. 36, No. 23, L23603, 12.2009.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Sharples, J, Moore, CM, Hickman, AE, Holligan, PM, Tweddle, J, Palmer, MR & Simpson, JH 2009, 'Internal tidal mixing as a control on continental margin ecosystems', Geophysical Research Letters, vol. 36, no. 23, L23603. https://doi.org/10.1029/2009GL040683
Sharples, J. ; Moore, C. M. ; Hickman, A. E. ; Holligan, P. M. ; Tweddle, J. ; Palmer, M. R. ; Simpson, J. H. / Internal tidal mixing as a control on continental margin ecosystems. In: Geophysical Research Letters. 2009 ; Vol. 36, No. 23.
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