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The NE Pacific warming anomaly of 2014/15, referred to as “the blob”, brought about unprecedented ocean warming (up to +5º C) along the west coast of North America from Alaska to Baja California. This was followed by an El Niño event, beginning in early spring of 2015 that extended the warming period for California’s coastal marine ecosystems. Following a widespread bloom of pennate diatoms (Pseudo-nitzschia spp.) along the U.S. West Coast, an extensive coccolithophore bloom (>1,000,000 cells L-1) occurred in the Santa Barbara Channel during late May and early June of 2015. Coccolithophore blooms had not been previously documented in this region. Using a combination of satellite remote sensing and in situ sampling, we assessed the spatial extent of the bloom over two weeks and identified Emiliania huxleyi as the primary species based on scanning electron microscopy. Flow cytometry was used to assess the relative age of bloom samples based on percentages of calcified cells and ratios of coccoliths to calcified cells. Long-term environmental monitoring datasets showed the development of conditions favorable for supporting a coccolithophore bloom. The role of surface currents in propagating the bloom was assessed by computing Lagrangian trajectories based on high-frequency (HF) radar observations of surface currents combined with satellite remote sensing. This work is one of the first studies to use HF radar observations for tracking a near-shore coccolithophore bloom and demonstrates the utility of such networks for understanding the evolution coastal phytoplankton blooms.


Matson, P. G., University of California, Santa Barbara, USA,

Gotschalk, C., University of California, Santa Barbara, USA

Ladd, T. M., University of California, Santa Barbara, USA

Siegel, D. A., University of California, Santa Barbara, USA

Washburn, L., University of California, Santa Barbara, USA

Iglesias-Rodriguez, M. D., University of California, Santa Barbara, USA


Oral presentation

Session #:059
Date: 03/03/2017
Time: 12:15
Location: 313 A

Presentation is given by student: No