The date indicates the season we’re in: spring (end of March to end of June), summer (end of June to end of September), fall (end of Sept to end of December), winter (end of December to end of March). The season makes a big difference in what you find in your plankton sample. Spring is a very windy season in the Monterey Bay. The winds cause an upwelling in the Bay. An upwelling happens when the warmer water on the surface of the ocean is pushed away by the wind and the colder water from deep in the Monterey Canyon is stirred up to the surface. Most zooplankton like to live in very cold water, while most phytoplankton need to live at the surface in order to be exposed to the sunlight. As a result, during the spring upwelling you will find more zooplankton mixed in with the phytoplankton near the surface of the water.

During the rainy winter season, the salinity of the water may change. Runoff from rivers and streams adds nutrients to the water that can affect the type of plankton you find.

Questions: Click on the question to see the answer

What type of plankton would you find on the surface in the Summer time when we have warm weather and very little wind?

Does Kelp grow faster in the summer or in the winter?

Do you think the surface temperature of the water is warmer in the winter or in the spring?

Marine Biology
Marine Ecology
Marine Navigation

The common name for brown seaweed.

A submarine canyon located in the Monterey Bay that is over 15,000 feet in depth.

Microscopic, single-celled, drifting photosynthesizers not able to swim against currents.

Small, usually microscopic plants (phytoplankton) and animals (zooplankton) in aquatic ecosystems.

The part of precipitation, snowmelt, or irrigation water that runs off the land into streams or other surface water. It can carry pollutants from the air and land into receiving waters.

The relative concentration of dissolved salts, usually sodium chloride (salt), in given water.

The temperature of the layer of sea water nearest the atmosphere.

Movement of water and nutrients from deep water towards the surface; an important source of nutrients for phytoplankton growth.

Animal plankton ranging from microscopic larval sea stars to huge jellyfish.