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Contrasting wind patterns and toxigenic phytoplankton in the southern Benguela upwelling system

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Marine Ecology Progress Series 348:19 MARINE ECOLOGY PROGRESS SERIES Mar Ecol Prog Ser Vol. 348: 19–31, 2007 doi: 10.3354/meps07027 Published October 25 INTRODUCTION Harmful algal blooms (HABs) are a regular feature of the west coast of South Africa, particularly during the latter part of the upwelling season (Pitcher et al. 1998, Pitcher & Calder 2000). Such blooms are usually attributed to dinoflagellates, with harmful effects typically associated with either the toxicity of some species or the collapse of high biomass leading to anoxia (Pitcher et al. 1998). In this region, where most hydrodynamic processes on the continental shelf are governed by the prevailing winds (Pitcher et al. 1998), phytoplankton assemblages are highly responsive to synoptic weather and wind patterns. Wind-driven processes therefore determine the presence and accu- mulation of HAB species through their impact on mixed layer dynamics, influencing life-form and species selection and development, and, as a result of mesoscale circulation patterns, affecting bloom reten- tion and advection (Pitcher & Nelson 2006). Topographical variation in the coastline of the south- ern Benguela gives rise to discrete upwelling cells at Hondeklip Bay, Cape Columbine and the Cape Penin- sula (Nelson & Hutchings 1983). Wind-induced © Inter-Research 2007 ·*Corresponding author. Email: [email protected] Contrasting wind patterns and toxigenic phytoplankton in the southern Benguela upwelling system A. Fawcett1, G. C. Pitcher2,*, S. Bernard1, A. D. Cembella3, R. M. Kudela4 1Department of Oceanography, University of Cape Town, Private Bag, Rondebosch 7700, Cape Town, South Africa 2Marine and Coastal Management, Private Bag X2, Rogge Bay 8012, Cape Town, South Africa 3Alfred Wegner Institute, Am Handelshafen 12, 27570 Bremerhaven, Germany 4Ocean Science Department, University of California, Santa Cruz, 1156 High Street, Santa Cruz, California 95064, USA ABSTRACT: The southern Namaqua shelf of t

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