Articles | Volume 7, issue 2
05 Oct 2015
 | 05 Oct 2015

Vertical distribution of chlorophyll a concentration and phytoplankton community composition from in situ fluorescence profiles: a first database for the global ocean

R. Sauzède, H. Lavigne, H. Claustre, J. Uitz, C. Schmechtig, F. D'Ortenzio, C. Guinet, and S. Pesant

Abstract. In vivo chlorophyll a fluorescence is a proxy of chlorophyll a concentration, and is one of the most frequently measured biogeochemical properties in the ocean. Thousands of profiles are available from historical databases and the integration of fluorescence sensors to autonomous platforms has led to a significant increase of chlorophyll fluorescence profile acquisition. To our knowledge, this important source of environmental data has not yet been included in global analyses. A total of 268 127 chlorophyll fluorescence profiles from several databases as well as published and unpublished individual sources were compiled. Following a robust quality control procedure detailed in the present paper, about 49 000 chlorophyll fluorescence profiles were converted into phytoplankton biomass (i.e., chlorophyll a concentration) and size-based community composition (i.e., microphytoplankton, nanophytoplankton and picophytoplankton), using a method specifically developed to harmonize fluorescence profiles from diverse sources. The data span over 5 decades from 1958 to 2015, including observations from all major oceanic basins and all seasons, and depths ranging from the surface to a median maximum sampling depth of around 700 m. Global maps of chlorophyll a concentration and phytoplankton community composition are presented here for the first time. Monthly climatologies were computed for three of Longhurst's ecological provinces in order to exemplify the potential use of the data product. Original data sets (raw fluorescence profiles) as well as calibrated profiles of phytoplankton biomass and community composition are available on open access at PANGAEA, Data Publisher for Earth and Environmental Science.

Raw fluorescence profiles: and

Phytoplankton biomass and community composition: