Mean chlorophyll-a concentrations and anomalies (1997–2016)
New Zealand's Environment Reporting Series: The Ministry for the Environment and Statistics New Zealand
Measured oceanic chlorophyll-a (chl-a) concentrations as an indicator of marine primary productivity. Phytoplankton are primary producers of biomass (mass of living organisms) and form the main basis of marine food chains. They use the chl-a pigment to capture the sun’s energy through the process of photosynthesis. Phytoplankton growth is affected by the availability of nutrients and light, which in turn are affected by the structure of the surface water column. The surface water column structure is affected by oceanographic and climate processes; large-scale changes to climate and oceanographic conditions can lead to changes in phytoplankton growth and chl-a concentrations.