Summer phytoplankton production and transport along the shelf break in the Bering Sea

Dennis A. Hansell, John J. Goering, John J. Walsh, C. Peter McRoy, Lawrence K. Coachman, Terry E. Whitledge

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

45 Scopus citations


A general model is presented for the production and fate of phytoplankton during summer in two regions over the continental shelf of the Bering Sea. We propose that both regions of productivity are supported by nutrients transported into the area with the Bering Slope Current and that the fate of the phytodetritus produced is significantly affected by advection. We hypothesize that one system of primary productivity is initiated at the Bering Sea shelf-break front and continues into the northern Bering Sea as part of the modified Bering Shelf water mass. Phytodetritus produced in this system is transported north through Anadyr and Shpanberg Straits and we estimate that in 1987 it supplied 26% of the daily carbon demand of the benthos in the Chirikov Basin. The second region of primary productivity is located in the northern Bering Sea. Nutrients from the Anadyr Current, the northern branch of the bifurcated Bering Slope Current, support a highly productive phytoplankton bloom throughout the summer. Phytodetritus produced in this surface bloom is probably advected into the southern Chukchi Sea and deposited in the sediments.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1085-1104
Number of pages20
JournalContinental Shelf Research
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 1989
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oceanography
  • Aquatic Science
  • Geology


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