In using a combination of measurements taken from the CTD rosette instruments and laboratory measurements on discrete water samples, chlorophyll a concentrations throughout the water column will be used to estimate the standing primary producer biomass in our study region. Phytoplankton growth is heavily influenced by nutrient concentrations in the water, light availability, water column stratification, and water flow. These characteristics generally lead to the concentration of primary production at certain locations such as oceanographic fronts, entrained with eddies or polynyas, or located at a few meters depth at water density (pycnocline, includes temperature and salinity) boundaries.
Additionally, in our sampling plans for the 2013 cruises, we intend to include a newly designed photo flow-through cytometer. This instrument samples very small amounts of water samples and takes in individual photos of algal cells in order to identify and catalog the species present in the water column. Our ability to to ground truth algal community composition will be an effective method at matching oceanographic conditions with production at the base of the food web.