Wood’s Hole researchers in the Eddies Dynamics, Mixing, Export, and Species composition (EDDIES) project confirmed that ocean productivity is enhanced by upwelling eddies in the oligotropic Sargasso Sea. The slowly swirling water masses were teeming with diatoms in concentrations 10,000 to 100,000 times the norm, among the highest ever observed in the Sargasso Sea. They compare these features to “oases in the desert”.
The researchers employed a combination of remote sensing, video plankton recorders, ocean drifters, tracers and traditional measurements of water properties and current speeds during six months of ship-based work in the summers of 2004 and 2005.
This type of information is important to our understanding of highly migratory seabirds, mammals, and fish. The satellite tracked animals seem to ‘home in’ on these features for extended periods of time.