National Oceanic and
Atmospheric Administration
United States Department of Commerce


FY 2008

An examination of the physical variability around the Pribilof Islands in 2004

Stabeno, P.J., N. Kachel, C. Mordy, D. Righi, and S. Salo

Deep-Sea Res. II, 55(16–17), 1701–1716, doi: 10.1016/j.dsr2.2008.03.006 (2008)

The Pribilof Islands form a unique ecosystem. An anti-cyclonic oceanic flow exists around the islands. Nutrients are introduced into this circulation from two sources: (1) the flow along the 100-m isobath with intrusions of nutrient-rich water in Pribilof Canyon, and (2) the westward transport and vertical mixing of middle-shelf water, which contains nutrient-rich bottom water. Enhanced tidal mixing around the Pribilofs introduces this deeper, nutrient-rich water into the euphotic zone and thus supports prolonged production around the islands. Further, the middle-shelf water that is advected into the region causes the upper 50 m of the water column around the islands to freshen throughout the summer. This enhances the frontal structure and strengthens the baroclinic flow along the 100-m isobath. The strengthening of the frontal structure can moderate ecosystem productivity by limiting the intrusion of slope water rich in nutrients and oceanic copepods.

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