Benthic-pelagic uncoupling between the Northern Patagonian Frontal System and Patagonian scallop beds

Published in Estuarine, Coastal and Shelf Science, v. 153:145-155

Franco, B.C., Palma, E.D. and Tonini, M.H.

Publication year 2015
  • Centro de Investigaciones del Mar y la Atmósfera (CIMA/CONICET-UBA), Intendente Guiraldes 2160 &ndash Ciudad Universitaria. Pabellón II &ndash 2do. Piso, C1428EGA Buenos Aires, Argentina
  • Departamento de Física, Universidad Nacional del Sur and Instituto Argentino de Oceanografía (IADO/CONICET), Bahía Blanca, Argentina


IAI Program


IAI Project CRN3070


•The Patagonian scallop Sea Bay bed is not related with the NPFS.

•We characterize the variability of NPFS at semidiurnal and intra-seasonal scales.

•The area of benthic-pelagic coupling processes related with NPFS is characterized.

•We suggest the restriction on fishing of the species in this scallop bed.


Availability of planktonic food in the bottom is the most important factor to explain the persistence and recurrent localization of Patagonian scallop (Zygochlamys patagonica) populations. The establishment of the scallop Sea Bay bed (SBB) has been related with food supply from the Northern Patagonian Frontal System (NPFS). In this article outputs from high resolution numerical models combined with particle tracking methods were used to identify for the first time potential physical mechanisms of food transfer. The model results showed no evidence of benthic-pelagic coupling between the NPFS and the SBB. They also revealed that the dominant instantaneous semidiurnal tidal currents and the mean N&ndashNE flow on the inner-middle Patagonian shelf are the main dynamical mechanisms preventing particles released at the surface of the NPFS to reach the SBB area. Sensitivity studies changing the stochastic numerical method for solving the particle trajectories, the release month and location of the particles, the magnitude of the horizontal turbulent diffusion coefficient and the frequency of the wind forcing did not alter this conclusion significantly.