Articles | Volume 17, issue 6
Research article
08 Dec 2010
Research article |  | 08 Dec 2010

Inhomogeneous dominance patterns of competing phytoplankton groups in the wake of an island

D. Bastine and U. Feudel

Abstract. We investigate the competition between two different functional groups of phytoplankton in the wake of an island close to a coastal upwelling region. We couple a simple biological model with three trophic levels and a hydrodynamic model of a von Kármán vortex street. The spatio-temporal abundance shows that the different phytoplankton groups dominate in different regions of the flow. The composition of the phytoplankton community varies e.g. for the different vortices. We study the mechanism leading to these inhomogeneous dominance patterns by investigating the nutrient transport in the flow and the interplay of hydrodynamic and biological time scales.