Seasonal variability of phytoplankton blooms in the coastal waters along the East coast of India
Bay of Bengal (BOB) is a semi enclosed tropical basin located in the north eastern part of the Indian Ocean with high influence of fresh water discharge from major rivers and rainfall. Bay of Bengal (BOB) is highly influenced by monsoons and represents a natural laboratory to study the effect of fresh water fluxes on the marine ecosystem. Bay of Bengal (BOB) is very low in productivity often with the observations of Phytoplankton Blooms. Phytoplankton blooms are one of the prominent features of biological variability in the coastal ecosystems such as estuaries, lagoons, bays, and tidal rivers with rapid production and accumulation of phytoplankton biomass in the ocean. These blooms usually respond to changing physical forcings originating in the coastal ocean like tides, currents and river runoff and to the atmospheric forcing like wind. These physical forcings have different timescales of variability, so algal blooms can be short-term episodic events, recurrent seasonal phenomena, or rare events associated with exceptional climatic or hydrologic conditions. Bloom events and their variability on spatial & temporal scales monitoring through field measurements is difficult. Based on this key hypothesis an effort is made to understand the seasonal and spatial variability of Phytoplankton Blooms along the East Coast of India. In this paper we present the bloom dynamics in their context to the chlorophyll concentration along with species composition and abundance in estuarine and near shore coastal waters of Godavari basin using Oceansat-2 Ocean Colour Monitor (OCM). The initial results revealed that the quasi permanent phytoplankton blooms initiates in the month of mid- February and evolves for a period of two months and then slowly starts decaying by the mid of May month. The results also stand as a base for the study of influence of Phytoplankton Blooms on the carbon flux estimations and bio-geo-chemical processes in the Bay of Bengal.