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Ecosystems Dynamics & Assessment : Current Conditions (Spring 2018)

Ecosystem Chlorophyll Concentration Trends

chart showing Northeast Shelf ecosystem chlorophyll concentration trends for past 20 years
Chlorophyll trends

The base of the food chain is reflected in the standing stock of phytoplankton and the rate of primary production. The two aspects of the plankton community are associated with different pathways of energy flow to consumer populations. Standing stock, which reaches its highest levels during bloom periods, is an indicator of potential flux of plankton to the benthos of the ecosystem. The concentration of chlorophyll is an indicator of phytoplankton standing stock. After a period of increasing chlorophyll concentration in the Northeast Shelf Ecosystem that peaked in 2011, chlorophyll concentration has been declining on an annual basis. The 2017 mean was the lowest in the time series.

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