Open Access

Correlations between phytoplankton, organic detritus and carbon in North Sea waters during the Fladenground Experiment (FLEX' 76)

  • G. Gassmann1 and
  • M. Gillbricht2
Helgoländer Meeresuntersuchungen35:BF01997556


Quantitative analysis of phytoplankton, organic detritus and dissolved organic carbon was carried out, during the spring bloom, in a specific North Sea area (58° 55′ N, O° 32′ E) in the course of an international and multidisciplinary marine investigation (FLEX' 76). An attempt was made to correlate the fluctuations of these variables; the analysis, however, was complicated by massive water movements. A maximum of the phytoplankton bloom coincided with a maximum of organic detritus, while both variables turned out to be inversely correlated with the dissolved organic carbon content. The initial, high amount of dissolved organic carbon declined at a daily rate of ca. 13% during a period of non-interference by water movements. Two thirds of the dissolved organic carbon content are assumed to be transformed into particulate organic matter whilst the rest disappears through still unknown channels.