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Transport and distribution of nutrients and chlorophyll-a by mesoscale eddies in the northeastern Mediterranean

1990-1
Salihoǧlu, İ
Saydam, C
Baştürk, Ö
Yilmaz, K
Göçmen, D
Hatipoǧlu, E
Yilmaz, A
The distribution of nutrient elements and chlorophyll-a in the Northern Levantine Basin (NLB) were investigated in some detail and are discussed together with the physical aspects of the region in the present study. The surface circulation pattern of the NLB was studied and the structure of the relatively large-scale Rhodes cyclonic gyre, which is located between Rhodes and Cyprus, was investigated for the same time period. The most important characteristics of this cyclonic gyre are the upwelling of nutrient-rich deep waters within the gyre and the reverse phenomenon at the peripheries. Anticyclonic circulation systems generally surround the Rhodes cyclonic gyre; the permanent ones are located in the southern part of the Rhodes gyre, in the Cilician Basin, and off İskenderun Bay. The vertical distribution of nutrients in the water column shows completely reversed trends and the nutrient gradient ranges between 300–400 m in the central parts of the anticyclonic systems. Thus downwelling processes also occur in the NLB and the formation of Levantine Intermediate Water (LIW) observed in the NLB matches the chemical data presented here. This special vertical and spatial distribution of nutrients affects the distribution of the phytoplankton population, as the patches of primary producers are aggregated in the central parts of the Rhodes gyre. This is confirmed by the chlorophyll-a data and the unexpected content of neuston net collection in the same region. The concentration of chlorophyll-a was relatively high at offshore stations, such as in the central parts of the cyclonic gyres, where zooplankton, small shrimp and fish larvae, etc., were observed in large quantities.