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Ecological application 12.5c

In a study of the spatial variability of coastal marine phytoplankton, Platt et al. (1970) repeated, in 1969, the sampling programme of 1968 described in Ecological application 10.3a. This time, data were collected not only on chlorophyll a but also on temperature and salinity at 80 sites along a transect. Figure 12.17 shows the coherence spectra for the three pairs of series, recorded on 24 June. Strong coherence between temperature and salinity indicates that these variables well-characterized the water masses encountered along the transect. Significant coherence between the series of chlorophyll a and those of temperature and salinity, at ca. 3 cycles (naut. mi.)-1, were consistent with the hypothesis that the spatial distribution of phytoplankton was controlled to some extent by the physical structure of the environment.

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