This work presents models of the vertical distribution and flux of phytoplankton aggregates, including changes with time in the distribution of aggregate sizes and sinking speeds. The distribution of sizes is described by two parameters, the mass and number of aggregates, which greatly reduces the computational cost of the models. Simple experiments demonstrate the effects of aggregation on the timing and depth distribution of primary production and export. A more detailed ecological model is applied to sites in the Arabian Sea; it demonstrates that aggregation can be important for deep sedimentation even when its effect on surface concentrations is small, and it presents the difference in timing between settlement of aggregates and fecal pellets.
Volume 128 | Issue 8
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