Observations of Biologically Generated Turbulence in a Coastal Inlet

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Science  22 Sep 2006:
Vol. 313, Issue 5794, pp. 1768-1770
DOI: 10.1126/science.1129378

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Measurements in a coastal inlet revealed turbulence that was three to four orders of magnitude larger during the dusk ascent of a dense acoustic-scattering layer of krill than during the day, elevating daily-averaged mixing in the inlet by a factor of 100. Because vertically migrating layers of swimming organisms are found in much of the ocean, biologically generated turbulence may affect (i) the transport of inorganic nutrients to the often nutrient-depleted surface layer from underlying nutrient-rich stratified waters to affect biological productivity and (ii) the exchange of atmospheric gases such as CO2 with the stratified ocean interior, which has no direct communication with the atmosphere.

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