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During the RV Investigator Eddy voyage (IN2016_V02), we sampled a mesoscale cyclonic and anticyclonic eddy in the Southern Ocean south to Tasmania. We have collected water samples to analyse concentration of phytoplankton biomass and nutrients.
Biologically relevant macronutrients, nitrate + nitrite, silicate, phosphate and ammonia, were measured at all sites throughout the study. Nitrate + nitrite values (NOx) at the surface showed clear seasonal trends, peaking over winter and drawing down to near zero in summer and autumn. Phosphate concentrations also reached a peak in winter, which was associated with Southern Ocean influence. Median ammonium concentrations at all sites were generally <0.5 μM, with no clear peaks in any season or month. Overall, the lowest values were measured in August and other months showed reasonable spread around the median. Median silicate concentrations were consistently highest at sites 1 and 9, followed by site 5. Water from the River Derwent flows through site 1, then tracks east towards site 9 then site 5. Seasonally, silicate was generally highest in winter when the River Derwent outflow is also greatest.
Water temperature, averaged across the water column, in Storm Bay followed a distinct seasonal cycle each year, reaching a low of 9 °C and a high of ~ 19 °C. Warmest temperatures were in February, followed by a gradual cooling throughout autumn to a winter minimum in August, then increasing again during spring. Across the sites, the median temperature varied little, with site 3, the most marine of the sites, showing the least spread in values. Median salinity varied little across Storm Bay, being slightly higher at sites 3 and 6, highlighting the marine nature of site 3 and the patterns of seawater circulation in Storm Bay. The lowest salinities were recorded at site 1, where less saline surface waters flow into the bay from the Derwent Estuary. Seasonally, salinity was highest in autumn, with slightly fresher water present in Storm Bay in spring. Some lower salinity values were recorded in July and August, suggesting the presence of less saline subantarctic water flowing into the bay, or freshwater flow from the Derwent. Glider transects show slight lower salinity in summer, then mild stratification in autumn to spring, especially in the shallow regions near the mouth of the Derwent.