The seasonal and interannual variability in the phytoplankton community in Liverpool Bay between 2003 and 2009 has been examined using results from high frequency, in situ measurements combined with discrete samples collected at one location in the bay. The spring phytoplankton bloom (up to 29.4 mg chlorophyll m) is an annual feature at the study site and its timing may vary by up to 50 days between years. The variability in the underwater light climate and turbulent mixing are identified as key factors controlling the timing of phytoplankton blooms. Modelled average annual gross and net production are estimated to be 223 and 56 g C m year, respectively. Light microscope counts showed that the phytoplankton community is dominated by diatoms, with dinoflagellates appearing annually for short periods of time between July and October. The zooplankton community at the study site is dominated by copepods and use of a fine mesh (80 µm) resulted in higher abundances of copepods determined (up to 2.5×10 ind. m) than has previously reported for this location. There is a strong seasonal cycle in copepod biomass and copepods greater than 270 µm contribute less than 10% of the total biomass. Seasonal trends in copepod biomass lag those in the phytoplankton community with a delay of 3 to 4 months between the maximum phytoplank-ton biomass and the maximum copepod biomass. Grazing by copepods exceeds net primary production at the site and indicates that an additional advective supply of carbon is required to support the copepod community.
- Primary production
- Liverpool Bay