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Geoscientific Model Development An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
https://doi.org/10.5194/gmd-2017-104
© Author(s) 2017. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.
Model description paper
02 Jun 2017
Review status
This discussion paper is under review for the journal Geoscientific Model Development (GMD).
CITRATE 1.0: Phytoplankton continuous trait-distribution model with one-dimensional physical transport applied to the Northwest Pacific
Bingzhang Chen and S. Lan Smith Research Center for Global Change Research, JAMSTEC (Japan Agency for Marine-Earth Science and Technology), 3173-25 Showa-machi, Kanazawa-ku, Yokohama 236-0001, Japan
Abstract. Diversity plays critical roles in ecosystem functioning, but it remains unclear how best to model phytoplankton diversity in order to better understand those roles and reproduce consistently observed patterns in the ocean. In contrast to the typical approach of resolving distinct species or functional groups, we present a ContInuous TRAiT-basEd phytoplankton model (CITRATE) that focuses on macroscopic properties such as total biomass, mean trait values, and trait variance. This phytoplankton component is embedded within a Nitrogen-Phytoplankton-Zooplankton-Detritus-Iron model that itself is coupled with a simplified one-dimensional ocean model. Size is used as the master trait for phytoplankton. CITRATE also incorporates trait diffusion for sustaining diversity, as well as simple representations of physiological acclimation, i.e. flexible chlorophyll-to-carbon and nitrogen-to-carbon ratios. We implemented CITRATE 1.0 at two contrasting stations in the Northwest Pacific where several years of observational data are available. The model is driven by physics forcing including vertical eddy diffusivity imported from three-dimensional ocean circulation models. One common set of model parameters for the two stations was optimized using the Delayed Rejection Adaptive Metropolis-Hasting Monte Carlo (DRAM) algorithm. The model faithfully reproduced most of the observational patterns and gave robust predictions on phytoplankton mean size and size diversity. With proper physical forcing, CITRATE 1.0 can be applied to any oceanic station where either nitrogen or iron limits phytoplankton growth.

Citation: Chen, B. and Smith, S. L.: CITRATE 1.0: Phytoplankton continuous trait-distribution model with one-dimensional physical transport applied to the Northwest Pacific, Geosci. Model Dev. Discuss., https://doi.org/10.5194/gmd-2017-104, in review, 2017.
Bingzhang Chen and S. Lan Smith
Bingzhang Chen and S. Lan Smith
Bingzhang Chen and S. Lan Smith

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Short summary
Marine phytoplankton accounts for half of global primary production. Phytoplankton size is an important trait affecting its fitness and ecosystem functioning. We have developed a plankton model with continuous size distribution for phytoplankton and applied it in the North Pacific. This model is able to capture the general patterns of phytoplankton size distribution in the real ocean and can be used for understanding the mechanisms controlling phytoplankton size structure and diversity.
Marine phytoplankton accounts for half of global primary production. Phytoplankton size is an...
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