Influence of swimming marine organisms on turbulence in the ocean from in-situ measurements




Rousseau, Shani

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Microstructure and acoustic data were collected in Saanich Inlet, British Columbia, and at Ocean Station P in the eastern subarctic North Pacific Ocean with the objective of observing krill-generated turbulence. At Ocean Station P, although a number of species composing the zooplankton community are large enough to generate turbulent flow (Re > 10e3), no turbulence events could be correlated with presence of swimming marine organisms and measurements indicated turbulence generated by shear. Zooplankton densities were likely too low to produce turbulence at the scale of an aggregation and the O(10e-2 m) scattered turbulent signals generated by individuals are difficult to detect in the natural environment. In Saanich Inlet, higher dissipation rates were observed in regions of high acoustic backscattering, suggesting that zooplankton-generated turbulence was occurring. Although presence of zooplankton was often correlated with high dissipation rates, high dissipation rates were frequently observed in the absence of zooplankton, suggesting multiple sources of turbulence. High dissipation rates were observed in the presence of non-migrating zooplankton as much as in the migrating layer. These turbulence events occurred at a scale of more than 1 m as they were positively detected by our dissipation rate estimation technique. This suggests that marine organisms can act together to generate turbulence at scales that can produce diapycnal mixing. Over all time-series collected, dissipation rates in the presence of zooplankton averaged 1.4 x 10e-8 W/kg whereas the average in the absence of zooplankton was 0.7 x 10e-8 W/kg.



Turbulence, Zooplankton, Euphausia pacifica, Vertical migration, Mixing