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Plankton blooms in vortices: the role of biological and hydrodynamic timescales

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We study the interplay of hydrodynamic mesoscale structures and the growth of plankton in the wake of an island, and its interaction with a coastal upwelling. Our focus is on a mechanism for the emergence of localized plankton blooms in vortices. Using a coupled system of a kinematic flow mimicking the mesoscale structures behind the island and a simple three component model for the marine ecosystem, we show that the long residence times of nutrients and plankton in the vicinity of the island and the confinement of plankton within vortices are key factors for the appearance of localized plankton blooms.


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