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Since most oceanic food chains depend on upwelling to get the nutrients into the light zone, how do the fires in southern california affect the same food chains with all the nutrients that are blown out to sea? Then upwelling or not there is a sudden flood of nutrients in the light zone. Hello to my fellow grad students.
Question Date: 2007-11-28
Answer 1:

This is a good point that I had never thought about, even though I've worked with fire.

Apparently there was a big algae bloom in 1997 that killed coral and fish for a 400 km stretch in Indonesia. It was later attributed to nutrient fallout from Sumatran forest fires. Of course, in Southern California, the erosion will be a lot greater after fires, also causing large nutrient inputs.

So you're right that the S. California fires are likely to influence marine food webs if wind patterns are sending smoke out to sea, and also from increased nutrients in runoff.Thanks for asking, this is something I'll mention to my students in the future.

Answer 2:

You are absolutely right; land runoff, or in this case blow-off, can dump nutrients into bodies of water and result in productivity blooms. This is the reason why dumping sewage into the ocean cause eutrophication:

productivity increases and uses up all of the oxygen.

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