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Modeling the primary and secondary productions of the Southern Benguela upwelling system : a comparative study through two biogeochemical models,

Koné V., Machu E., Penven P., Andersen V., Garçon V., Demarcq H. and Fréon P.,

Global Biogeochemical Cycles, 19/GB4021, 10.1029/2004GB002427.



A three-dimensional primitive equation model, the Regional Ocean Modeling Systems (ROMS), coupled to two biogeochemical configurations (NPZD and N²P²Z²D²) was used to study the dynamics of the first trophic levels of the pelagic food web in the southern Benguela upwelling system. The domain extends from the Agulhas Bank bordered by the Agulhas Current to 27°S on the west coast of South Africa. The circulation is driven by monthly climatologies of atmospheric forcing fields. The NPZD ecosystem model consists of four state variables: nutrient (nitrate), phytoplankton, zooplankton and detritus. In the N²P²Z²D² model, ammonium has been added and the three other variables have been divided into small and large organisms or detritus. Both models are able to reproduce the spatio-temporal phytoplankton distribution. Along the west coast, chlorophyll concentrations maxima are associated to surface waters. Westward dominating winds generate the lowest chlorophyll concentrations encountered in winter. The small phytoplankton organisms simulated by the N²P²Z²D² model are responsible for a weaker chlorophyll inshore/offshore gradient, in closer agreement with observations. Transitions from a regime dominated by new production (high f ratio) to one dominated by regenerated production (low f ratio) happen to be abrupt, underlying the constant competition between small and large organisms with regard to upwelling induced nutrient inputs. On the Agulhas Bank, the summer enrichment is associated with subsurface maxima, while in winter, mixing by storms results in a homogeneous phytoplankton distribution in the water column. Regenerated production plays an important role in maintaining the total phytoplankton growth. Zooplankton biomass reflects the overall patterns of chlorophyll a concentrations with differences between the west coast and the Agulhas Bank, consistent with data, and its distribution exhibits a clear seasonal contrast. The seasonality of small and large zooplankton in the N²P²Z²D² model is quite distinct, which allows, from the Agulhas Bank to St. Helena Bay, a food continuum for fish larvae. This was not achieved with the simpler NPZD model, emphasizing the importance of representing the appropriate level of complexity to characterize food availability for higher trophic levels.



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