New primary production in northwest European shelf seas, 1960–2003

M.R. Heath, D.J. Beare, Scottish Government Marine Directorate (Funder), Joint Research Centre (JRC), Ispra (Funder)

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

25 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Spatial and temporal patterns from 1960 to 2003 in annual potential new primary production (PNP) of the NW European shelf seas were derived from general additive models of nitrate concentrations and from data on riverine and atmospheric fluxes of oxidized nitrogen. Average PNP was highest in the seasonally stratified outer shelf regions (>70 gC m-2 yr-1), where the proportion of PNP accounted for by vertical fluxes from deep water (>65%) was correlated with the North Atlantic Oscillation (NAO) index. PNP was lowest in the central North Sea (~30 gC m-2 yr-1) and in the southern North Sea was correlated with river inputs that accounted for 24% of the annual total (average ~50 gC m-2 yr-1). Atmospheric deposition accounted for ~3% of annual PNP region-wide, but in the northern North Sea this was higher than the contribution from rivers. Tidal fronts are traditionally considered to be highly productive zones, but we find them to have characteristically low PNP and conclude that they must be loci of high recycled production. The results indicate an exceptional flux of nitrate-rich ocean water onto the shelf in the early 1990s, which resulted in a pulse of PNP coincident with a well-documented 'regime shift' in the pelagic food web. North Sea-wide, long-term average PNP was approximately equal to production by all higher trophic levels combined, though trophic propagation of inter-annual variations was weakly defined. Nevertheless, there is a case for proposing that harvesting in areas and periods of low PNP should be managed more conservatively to minimize the risk of detrimental effects on the food web.
LanguageEnglish
Pages183-203
Number of pages21
JournalMarine Ecology Progress Series
Volume363
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2008

Fingerprint

shelf sea
primary production
primary productivity
North Sea
food webs
food web
nitrates
nitrate
rivers
atmospheric deposition
North Atlantic Oscillation
river
trophic level
annual variation
deep water
seawater
loci
sea
nitrogen
ocean

Keywords

  • nitrate
  • primary production
  • recycled production
  • f-ratio
  • north sea
  • salinity
  • food web

Cite this

Heath, M. R., Beare, D. J., Scottish Government Marine Directorate (Funder), & Joint Research Centre (JRC), Ispra (Funder) (2008). New primary production in northwest European shelf seas, 1960–2003. Marine Ecology Progress Series, 363, 183-203. https://doi.org/10.3354/meps07460
Heath, M.R. ; Beare, D.J. ; Scottish Government Marine Directorate (Funder) ; Joint Research Centre (JRC), Ispra (Funder). / New primary production in northwest European shelf seas, 1960–2003. In: Marine Ecology Progress Series. 2008 ; Vol. 363. pp. 183-203.
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Heath, MR, Beare, DJ, Scottish Government Marine Directorate (Funder) & Joint Research Centre (JRC), Ispra (Funder) 2008, 'New primary production in northwest European shelf seas, 1960–2003' Marine Ecology Progress Series, vol. 363, pp. 183-203. https://doi.org/10.3354/meps07460

New primary production in northwest European shelf seas, 1960–2003. / Heath, M.R.; Beare, D.J.; Scottish Government Marine Directorate (Funder); Joint Research Centre (JRC), Ispra (Funder).

In: Marine Ecology Progress Series, Vol. 363, 2008, p. 183-203.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

TY - JOUR

T1 - New primary production in northwest European shelf seas, 1960–2003

AU - Heath, M.R.

AU - Beare, D.J.

AU - Scottish Government Marine Directorate (Funder)

AU - Joint Research Centre (JRC), Ispra (Funder)

PY - 2008

Y1 - 2008

N2 - Spatial and temporal patterns from 1960 to 2003 in annual potential new primary production (PNP) of the NW European shelf seas were derived from general additive models of nitrate concentrations and from data on riverine and atmospheric fluxes of oxidized nitrogen. Average PNP was highest in the seasonally stratified outer shelf regions (>70 gC m-2 yr-1), where the proportion of PNP accounted for by vertical fluxes from deep water (>65%) was correlated with the North Atlantic Oscillation (NAO) index. PNP was lowest in the central North Sea (~30 gC m-2 yr-1) and in the southern North Sea was correlated with river inputs that accounted for 24% of the annual total (average ~50 gC m-2 yr-1). Atmospheric deposition accounted for ~3% of annual PNP region-wide, but in the northern North Sea this was higher than the contribution from rivers. Tidal fronts are traditionally considered to be highly productive zones, but we find them to have characteristically low PNP and conclude that they must be loci of high recycled production. The results indicate an exceptional flux of nitrate-rich ocean water onto the shelf in the early 1990s, which resulted in a pulse of PNP coincident with a well-documented 'regime shift' in the pelagic food web. North Sea-wide, long-term average PNP was approximately equal to production by all higher trophic levels combined, though trophic propagation of inter-annual variations was weakly defined. Nevertheless, there is a case for proposing that harvesting in areas and periods of low PNP should be managed more conservatively to minimize the risk of detrimental effects on the food web.

AB - Spatial and temporal patterns from 1960 to 2003 in annual potential new primary production (PNP) of the NW European shelf seas were derived from general additive models of nitrate concentrations and from data on riverine and atmospheric fluxes of oxidized nitrogen. Average PNP was highest in the seasonally stratified outer shelf regions (>70 gC m-2 yr-1), where the proportion of PNP accounted for by vertical fluxes from deep water (>65%) was correlated with the North Atlantic Oscillation (NAO) index. PNP was lowest in the central North Sea (~30 gC m-2 yr-1) and in the southern North Sea was correlated with river inputs that accounted for 24% of the annual total (average ~50 gC m-2 yr-1). Atmospheric deposition accounted for ~3% of annual PNP region-wide, but in the northern North Sea this was higher than the contribution from rivers. Tidal fronts are traditionally considered to be highly productive zones, but we find them to have characteristically low PNP and conclude that they must be loci of high recycled production. The results indicate an exceptional flux of nitrate-rich ocean water onto the shelf in the early 1990s, which resulted in a pulse of PNP coincident with a well-documented 'regime shift' in the pelagic food web. North Sea-wide, long-term average PNP was approximately equal to production by all higher trophic levels combined, though trophic propagation of inter-annual variations was weakly defined. Nevertheless, there is a case for proposing that harvesting in areas and periods of low PNP should be managed more conservatively to minimize the risk of detrimental effects on the food web.

KW - nitrate

KW - primary production

KW - recycled production

KW - f-ratio

KW - north sea

KW - salinity

KW - food web

U2 - 10.3354/meps07460

DO - 10.3354/meps07460

M3 - Article

VL - 363

SP - 183

EP - 203

JO - Marine Ecology Progress Series

T2 - Marine Ecology Progress Series

JF - Marine Ecology Progress Series

SN - 0171-8630

ER -

Heath MR, Beare DJ, Scottish Government Marine Directorate (Funder), Joint Research Centre (JRC), Ispra (Funder). New primary production in northwest European shelf seas, 1960–2003. Marine Ecology Progress Series. 2008;363:183-203. https://doi.org/10.3354/meps07460