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A bio-physical characterization of water masses off Ningaloo reef in May 2010

Rossi, V., Roughan, M., Beckley, L. and Waite, A. (2011) A bio-physical characterization of water masses off Ningaloo reef in May 2010. In: 48th Annual Conference of the Australian Marine Science Association, 3 - 7 July, Fremantle, Western Australia.


Physical, biogeochemical and biological observations were collected onboard the Southern Surveyor offshore Ningaloo Reef, Western Australia, in May 2010. This multidisciplinary campaign focused on the area between 21 and 23S at the source waters of the Leeuwin Current, which forms from the merging of several branches coming from the Indian Ocean and the Indonesian Throughflow. We present here a detailed analysis of the water masses sampled, highlighting the relationship between physical forcing and the associated biological characteristics. We described the presence of several water masses, while trying to assess their origins. The complex circulation over the shelf is analysed and showed a high sensitivity to wind events. We estimate the transport induced by these currents and discuss it in relation to previous studies. The presence of a low salinity / low oxygen / high nitrate layer is observed at the subsurface. Its origins as well as its biogeochemical significance are briefly discussed. We finally investigate the physical and biological response to a localized wind driven upwelling event. This descriptive work stands as a reference for a more exhaustive study of the area by using the complete biological / biogeochemical / physical datasets.

Item Type: Conference Item
Murdoch Affiliation(s): School of Environmental Science
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