The team behind the publication of The Australian Phytoplankton Database as a data descriptor paper in 2016, and its corresponding accessibility on the AODN Portal (Data paper collection and the ongoing collection), has now published the related Australian Chlorophyll a Database (1965 - 2017) in Scientific Data.
The data from this collection is accessed on the AODN Portal.
Chlorophyll a is the most commonly used indicator of phytoplankton biomass in the marine environment. It is relatively simple and cost effective to measure when compared to phytoplankton abundance and is thus routinely included in many surveys. This data collection collates 173,333 records of chlorophyll a collected since 1965 from Australian waters, gathered from researchers, students, government bodies, state agencies, councils and databases.
In Australian waters chlorophyll a concentrations are generally lowest in the tropical and subtropical oceanic regions (0.05-0.5 μgL−1) and higher in the Southern Ocean and temperate regions (up to 1.5 μgL−1). In coastal zones, the chlorophyll a concentration can fluctuate greatly as phytoplankton blooms develop, peak and crash.
The coastal station at Port Hacking, project number P782 in our database, is a good example where chlorophyll a concentrations typically vary between 0.1–8.0 μgL−1 over an annual cycle, with peaks sometimes up to 15 μgL−1 at 20–40 m depth coinciding with phytoplankton blooms.
In inshore estuaries and bays, high chlorophyll a values can also indicate the system is eutrophic with elevated nutrient levels from terrestrial run off. Chlorophyll a is therefore used in several water quality monitoring programs across the country (e.g. project number P1072 Ecosystem Health Monitoring Program in Moreton Bay, Queensland, Australia, http://healthywaterways.org/initatives/monitoring).
Concentrations of chlorophyll a also vary throughout the oceans with oceanographic features such as upwelling and fronts which drive nutrients towards surface layers and thus enhance chlorophyll a levels.
The database includes Chlorophyll a data from the IMOS National Reference Stations moorings.
The Australian Chlorophyll a Database will be maintained and updated through the CSIRO data centre, with periodic updates sent to the Australian Ocean Data network (AODN); (a new “ongoing” data collection will be available in the future from the AODN Portal). This snapshot of the Australian Chlorophyll a Database at the time of this publication has been assigned a DOI and will be maintained in perpetuity by the AODN.