Influence of the summer deep-sea circulations on passive drifts among the submarine canyons in the northwestern Mediterranean Sea

Clavel-Henry, MoraneSolé, Jordi Ahumada-Sempoal, Miguel ÁngelBahamon, Nixon Briton, FlorenceRotllant, Guiomar Company, Joan B.  Ocean Science 15(6): 1745–1759 (2019)  DIGITAL CSIC

Marine biophysical models can be used to explore the displacement of individuals in and between submarine canyons. Mostly, the studies focus on the shallow hydrodynamics in or around a single canyon. In the northwestern Mediterranean Sea, knowledge of the deep-sea circulation and its spatial variability in three contiguous submarine canyons is limited. We used a Lagrangian framework with three-dimensional velocity fields from two versions of the Regional Ocean Modeling System (ROMS) to study the deep-bottom connectivity between submarine canyons and to compare their influence on the particle transport. From a biological point of view, the particles represented eggs and larvae spawned by the deep-sea commercial shrimp Aristeus antennatus along the continental slope in summer. The passive particles mainly followed a southwest drift along the continental slope and drifted less than 200 km considering a pelagic larval duration (PLD) of 31 d. Two of the submarine canyons were connected by more than 27 % of particles if they were released at sea bottom depths above 600 m. The vertical advection of particles depended on the depth where particles were released and the circulation influenced by the morphology of each submarine canyon. Therefore, the impact of contiguous submarine canyons on particle transport should be studied on a case-by-case basis and not be generalized. Because the flows were strongly influenced by the bottom topography, the hydrodynamic model with finer bathymetric resolution data, a less smoothed bottom topography, and finer sigma-layer resolution near the bottom should give more accurate simulations of near-bottom passive drift. Those results propose that the physical model parameterization and discretization have to be considered for improving connectivity studies of deep-sea species