0000-0001-7519-9278 (Dinniman), 0000-0003-4312-5201 (Klink)

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Publication Date




Publication Title

Journal of Geophysical Research: Oceans






1-19 (Article e2021JC017304)


Palmer Deep Canyon is one of the biological hotspots associated with deep bathymetric features along the Western Antarctic Peninsula. The upwelling of nutrient-rich Upper Circumpolar Deep Water to the surface mixed layer in the submarine canyon has been hypothesized to drive increased phytoplankton biomass productivity, attracting krill, penguins and other top predators to the region. However, observations in Palmer Deep Canyon lack a clear in-situ upwelling signal, lack a physiological response by phytoplankton to Upper Circumpolar Deep Water in laboratory experiments, and surface residence times that are too short for phytoplankton populations to reasonably respond to any locally upwelled nutrients. This suggests that enhanced local upwelling may not be the mechanism that links canyons to increased biological activity. Previous observations of isopycnal doming within the canyon suggested that a subsurface recirculating feature may be present. Here, using in-situ measurements and a circulation model, we demonstrate that the presence of a recirculating eddy may contribute to maintaining the biological hotspot by increasing the residence time at depth and retaining a distinct layer of biological particles. Neutrally buoyant particle simulations showed that residence times increase to upwards of 175 days with depth within the canyon during the austral summer. In-situ particle scattering, flow cytometry, and water samples from within the subsurface eddy suggest that retained particles are detrital in nature. Our results suggest that these seasonal, retentive features of Palmer Deep Canyon are important to the establishment of the biological hotspot.


© 2021 The Authors.

This is an open access article under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International (CC BY-NC 4.0) License, which permits use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited and is not used for commercial purposes.

Data Availability

Article states: "Glider data used in this analysis can be accessed at the glider ERDDAP server (https://gliders.ioos.us/erddap/info/index.html). HFR data from 2015 and 2020 are also available on ERDDAP (http://hfr.marine.rutgers.edu/erddap/griddap/converge_reprocess.graph and https://hfr.marine.rutgers.edu/erddap/griddap/swarm_25mz_totals_reprocessed_with_qc_radials.html). Wind data from 2015 are available at NCEI (https://www.ncei.noaa.gov/access/metadata/landing-page/bin/iso?id=gov.noaa.nodc:0187193). ROMS particle simulations; ROMS temperature, salinity, and density data; Imaging Flow Cytobot feature data and associated CTD data; and wind data from 2020 are available on BCO-DMO (https://www.bco-dmo.org/project/850844)."

Original Publication Citation

Hudson, K. L., Oliver, M. J., Kohut, J., Dinniman, M. S., Klinck, J., Moffat, C., Statscewich, H., Bernard, K. S., & Fraser, W. (2021). A recirculating eddy promotes subsurface particle retention in an antarctic biological hotspot. Journal of Geophysical Research: Oceans, 126(11), 1-19, Article e2021JC017304. https://doi.org/10.1029/2021JC017304


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