Accession Number:

ADA581586

Title:

Physical Controls on Copepod Aggregations in the Gulf of Maine

Descriptive Note:

Doctoral thesis

Corporate Author:

MASSACHUSETTS INST OF TECH CAMBRIDGE JOINT PROGRAM IN APPLIED OCEAN SCIENCE AND ENGINEERING

Personal Author(s):

Report Date:

2013-06-01

Pagination or Media Count:

218.0

Abstract:

This thesis explores the role that the circulation in the Gulf of Maine GOM plays in determining the distribution of dense aggregations of copepods. These aggregations are an important part of the marine ecosystem, especially for endangered North Atlantic right whales. Certain ocean processes may generate dense copepod aggregations, while others may destroy them this thesis looks at how different characteristics of the GOM circulation fit into these two categories. The first part of the thesis investigates a hypothetical aggregation mechanism in which frontal circulation interacts with copepod behavior to generate a dense patch of copepods. The first two chapters of this thesis address this mechanism in the context of coastal river plumes and salinity fronts. One chapter describes the characteristics and variability of coastal freshwater and salinity fronts using a historical dataset and a realistic numerical model. The seasonal variability of freshwater is tied in part to seasonality in river discharge, while variability on shorter time scales in the frontal position is related to wind stress. Another chapter applies the hypothetical mechanism to idealized river plumes using a suite of numerical models. The structure of the plume and plume-relative circulation change the resulting copepod aggregation from what is expected from the hypothetical mechanism. The second part of the thesis discusses the GOM circulation and how it may eliminate copepod patches. The summertime mean surface circulation and eddy kinetic energy are computed from a Lagrangian drifter dataset and an adaptive technique that allows for higher spatial resolution while also keeping uncertainty low.

Subject Categories:

  • Biological Oceanography
  • Physical and Dynamic Oceanography
  • Hydrology, Limnology and Potamology

Distribution Statement:

APPROVED FOR PUBLIC RELEASE