Continental Shelf Research
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Continental Shelf Research

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Continental Shelf Research 22 (2002) 1225–1247 Spatial variability of phytoplankton composition and biomass on the eastern continental shelf of the Bay of Biscay (north-east Atlantic Ocean). Evidence for a bloom of Emiliania huxleyi (Prymnesiophyceae) in spring 1998 L. Lamperta,b, B. Qu!eguinerc,*, T. Labasquea, A. Pichona, N. Lebretond aCentre Militaire d'Oc!eanographie, EPSHOM, Brest, France b Institut Universitaire Europ!een de la Mer, Laboratoire des Sciences de l'Environnement Marin, UMR CNRS 6539 , Technop _ole BREST-IROISE, Place Nicolas Copernic - 29280 Plouzan!e, France cCentre Oc!eanologique de Marseille, Laboratoire d'Oc!eanographie et de Biog!eochimie, UMR CNRS 6535, FR CNRS 6106, Universit!e de la M!editerran!ee, Parc Scientifique et Technologique de Luminy, Case 901, F-13288 Marseille cedex 09, France dBiotop, Penfeld braz - 29820 Bohars, France Received 6 December 1999; received in revised form 19 June 2001; accepted 26 June 2001 Abstract A coccolithophorid bloom, dominated by Emiliania huxleyi, was detected by sea viewing wide field of view sensor (SeaWiFS) images on the French continental shelf break in April 1998. Concentrations of up to 3.2 106 coccospheres l1 and up to 8.6 107 coccoliths l1 were measured by microscope countings of samples taken during the first days of the bloom.

  • cells l1

  • spring tides

  • huxleyi blooms

  • continental shelf

  • french continental

  • emiliania huxleyi

  • bloom

  • light-scattering coccoliths

  • taken during


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Continental Shelf Research 22 (2002) 1225–1247
Spatial variability of phytoplankton composition and biomass on the eastern continental shelf of the Bay of Biscay (north-east Atlantic Ocean). Evidence for a bloom ofEmiliania huxleyi (Prymnesiophyceae) in spring 1998
a,b c, a a d L. Lampert , B . Qu!eguiner *, T. Labasque , A. Pichon , N. Lebreton a Centre Militaire d’Oc!eanographie, EPSHOM, Brest, France b Institut Universitaire Europe!en de la Mer, Laboratoire des Sciences de l’Environnement Marin, UMR CNRS 6539 , Technopo#le BRESTIROISE, Place Nicolas Copernic  29280 Plouzan!e, France c Centre Oc!eanologique de Marseille, Laboratoire d’Oce!anographie et de Biog!eochimie, UMR CNRS 6535, FR CNRS 6106, Universite!de la Me!diterrane!e, Parc Scientifique et Technologique de Luminy, Case 901, F13288 Marseille cedex 09, France d Biotop, Penfeld braz  29820 Bohars, France
Abstract
Received 6 December 1999; received in revised form 19 June 2001; accepted 26 June 2001
A coccolithophorid bloom, dominated byEmiliania huxleyi, was detected by sea viewing wide field of view sensor 6 (SeaWiFS) images on the French continental shelf break in April 1998. Concentrations of up to 3.210 1 71 coccospheres l and up to 8.610 coccoliths l were measured by microscope countings of samples taken during the 1 first days of the bloom. Moderate chlorophyllaconcentrations (range: 0.8–1.1mg l ) characterised the study area. Chlorophyll and carotenoid pigments, analysed by high performance liquid chromatography (HPLC), confirmed the dominance of Pry-mnesiophytes in the bloom area. The bloom was not monospecific and diatoms, mainly belonging to the genusRhizosolenia, as well as silicoflagellates were observed in the phytoplankton. Outside of the bloom area, ‘‘green algae’’ and cryptophytes dominated the phytoplankton. Diatoms were a dominant group of the Vilaine plume community and dinoflagellates were dominant in the southern part of the study area. The development of the dissipative phase of coccolithophorid bloom and its persistence for at least 4 weeks is explained by the conjunction of water mass preconditioning by river inputs on the continental shelf, increasing PAR during spring, and internal wave formation at the shelf break during spring tides. Partial dissolving of coccoliths and lack of horizontal displacement of the bloom, during the 4 weeks, are interpreted in terms of rapid settling of coccoliths due to packaging by grazers as well as ongoing pro-duction maintained by nutrient injection via the action of internal waves.r2002 Elsevier Science Ltd. All rights reserved.
Keywords:Algal blooms;Emiliania huxleyi; Coccoliths; Hydrodynamics; Chemotaxonomy; HPLC; Prymnesiophytes; Remote sensing; Riverine inputs; France; Bay of Biscay; 44–481N and 001–0051W
*Corresponding author. Tel.: +33-04-9182-9205; fax: +33-04-9182-1991. E-mail address:bernard.queguiner@com.univ-mrs.fr (B. Qu!eguiner).
0278-4343/02/$ - see front matterr2002 Elsevier Science Ltd. All rights reserved. PII: S 0 2 7 8 - 4 3 4 3 ( 0 1 ) 0 0 1 0 3 - 0
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1. Introduction
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Coccolithophorids are nanoplanktonic algae belonging to the Prymnesiophyceae.Emiliania huxleyiis the most representative and cosmopoli-tan species, capable of generating vast blooms in all oceans, including the polar oceans (Winter et al., 1999); such blooms have been clearly identified following the developments of electron microscopy in the 1950s (Braarud et al., 1952). At the global scale, blooms (i.e. cell concentration 61 6 2 >10 cells l ) cover 1.410 km surface area each year, with temperate regions accounting for 71% of the total; in North Atlantic waters blooms can 5 2 cover areas >10 km (Brown and Yoder, 1994). The recent bloom ofE. huxleyiin the eastern 5 Bearing Sea shelf occurred over an area >210 2 km and was observed from early July until November 1997 (Sukhanova and Flint, 1998). Blooms have significant environmental impacts, via increased water albedo (reflectance), dimethyl-sulphide (DMS) production, large fluxes of cal-cium carbonate out of the surface waters and changes in the oceanic uptake of CO2(Westbroek et al., 1993).E. huxleyicells achieve the process of calcification with the release of CO2according to 2þ : 2HCþCaCaC the reaction O3O3þCO2þ H2O;hence, acting as a source of CO2rather than a sink (Tyrrell and Taylor, 1995). Bloom dynamics have been related to the physical structure of the surface water:E. huxleyi blooms occur most often during stratification in the North Atlantic Ocean (Nanninga and Tyrrell, 1996). Lack of photoinhibition at light intensities 21 of up to 1500ms may contribute toEinstein m the dominance ofE. huxleyiin surface waters in the shallow mixed layers (Nanninga and Tyrrell, 1996). The close relationship between blooms and stratification seems an essential, but not sufficient, requirement to bloom formation (Nanninga and Tyrrell, 1996). Townsend et al. (1994) have coined the term ‘‘mature waters’’ for water masses with histories resulting in depletion or alterations in macro- and micro-nutrient levels that could provide the right sets of conditions to facilitate the formation of E. huxleyiblooms. In general,E. huxleyiblooms follow diatom blooms in waters that have been
recently depleted in inorganic nutrients and are becoming more stable in terms of vertical mixing. Salinity does not seem to be a critical factor per se, except in association with nutrient distributions (Holligan et al., 1993a). Low orthosilicic acid levels have been suggested as a possible explana-tion for the biogeographical distribution of E. huxleyi(Brown and Yoder, 1994). The meso-cosm studies in Norwegian fjords have shown that diatoms always bloom (usually to the exclusion of everything else) when orthosilicic acid is present at concentrations ofX2mM, but are less likely to bloom at concentrationso2mM (Egge and Aksnes, 1992). In the North Atlantic, the spring shift from diatoms to Prymnesiophytes observed during NABE/JGOFS experiment (Sieracki et al., 1993) was also attributed to the depletion of orthosilicic acid (Lochte et al., 1993). Other hypotheses include seeding effects related to water mass advection (Townsend et al., 1994), advantage at low nitrate and ammonia concentra-tions (Eppley et al., 1969), and tolerance to low iron concentrations (Brand, 1991).E. huxleyiis also known to have a requirement for thiamine (vitamin B1), which is not present in water in the absence of biological activity. Additionally, graz-ing can act as a regulating factor ofE. huxleyi biomass. The microzooplankton is capable of responding rapidly to changes in phytoplankton biomass and may control the biomass of small algae (Thingstad and Sakshaug, 1990; Riegman et al., 1993). For an oceanic bloom, it was reported that microzooplankton removed approximately 44% of theE. huxleyistock per day (Holligan et al., 1993b). E. huxleyiblooms can be identified by satellite imagery due to the strong reflectance signal produced by the light-scattering coccoliths (Holli-gan and Groom, 1986). Coccoliths surround the cells and a few detach during the first phase of the bloom; detachment increases during the mature and dissipative phase of the bloom (Westbroek et al., 1993), characterised by moderate chloro-phyllalevels in nutrient-depleted waters (Holligan et al., 1993a). Satellite imagery has revealed that E. huxleyiblooms occur between May and August in the North Atlantic with the greatest frequency in June and July. Blooms in the Atlantic basin
L. Lampert et al. / Continental Shelf Research 22 (2002) 1225–1247
have been documented using LANDSAT, coastal zone color scanner (CZCS), the visible band of the advanced very high resolution radiometer (AVHRR) and sea viewing wide field of view sensor (SeaWiFS) (Le F"evre et al., 1983; Holligan et al., 1993b; Garcia-Soto et al., 1995; Holligan et al., 1983; Townsend et al., 1994; Sukhanova and Flint, 1998). In contrast to the abundant satellite data, sea-truth data is scarce. During the Bio-Modycot 98 cruise, in the area of the continental shelf of the Bay of Biscay, we observed high concentrations ofE. huxleyiin the vicinity of the continental slope. The aims of this paper are (1) to document the spatial variability of phytoplankton biomass, abundance, and composi-tion, in the study area at the beginning of spring; and (2) to derive the possible controlling factors affectingE. huxleyidevelopment, with special emphasis on the physical processes in the water masses. We have followed a multi-parametrical approach by using improved methods of pigment analysis (high performance liquid chromatogra-phy, HPLC) and satellite imagery (SeaWiFS), as well as a more classical approach involving phytoplankton examination by direct microscopy.
2. Materials and methods
Sampling was performed during the Bio-Modycot 98 cruise (Service Hydrographique et Oce!anographique de la Marine (SHOM) and IFREMER joint project) on board of theBH2 Lape!rouseresearch vessel (SHOM). A network of 47 stations was sampled between 22 April and 27 April 1998. Vertical profiles of temperature, conductivity and depth (CTD Sea Bird 911+) were recorded at every station (Lebreton and Wolff, 1998). Three transects have been analysed in detail to define the physical properties (Fig. 1). To characterise the degree of water column stability, a stratification index (SI) was computed (Bustillos-Guzman et al., 1995) as the difference of density from surface to bottom, calculated for 1 each 5 m layer (m ), using the following equation: P n Dst=Dz i¼1 SI¼ ð1Þ n
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SPAIN ˚ ˚ 43 N 43 N 5 W 4 W 3 W 2 W 1 W 0 1 E ˚ ˚ ˚ ˚ ˚ ˚ ˚ Fig. 1. Network of 47 stations sampled during Bio-Modycot 98 cruise (22–27 April 1998). The three transects 1, 2, and 3 are also shown in the figure. Stars: CTD and HPLC sampling network; Points: CTD-only sampling network. The dotted line shows the location of the MICOM numerical model transect.
withim in the water=number of layers of 5 column. For phytoplankton observations and pigment analysis 5 l water samples were taken at 5 m depth. Phytoplankton samples were taken at every station whereas pigment analysis was restricted to low turbidity oceanic stations (Fig. 1). Water samples for phytoplankton identification and counting were drawn in glass bottles. At each station, aliquots of 100 ml seawater were preserved by adding 250ml of Lugol’s iodine and 300 ml were preserved by adding 6 ml of cacodylate-buffered glutaraldehyde. Microphytoplankton (>20mm) and nanophytoplankton (2–20mm) were counted within 6 months by the Utermo.hl (1931) method using a Nikon inverted phase-contrast microscope. For coccolithophorid identification, glutaralde-hyde-preserved samples were filtered onto 0.8mm polycarbonate membranes, which were then de-hydrated by keeping in an ethanol series and were dried using a critical point apparatus. The
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membranes were then affixed to stubs, coated with 20 nm gold, and then observed by scanning electron microscopy (SEM) using a HITACHI S-3200 N. For pigment analysis, 1 l seawater samples were prefiltered through 200mm mesh nylon gauze and then filtered onto 25 mm GF/F fibre filters under low-pressure vacuum (o0.5 bar, following Del Amo et al., 1997) for further HPLC analysis. Filters were stored immediately at201C on board for the duration of the cruise and were kept in the laboratory for a maximum of 7 months at 801C. Pigments were extracted and analysed by the reverse-phase HPLC method slightly modified from Wright et al. (1991). The frozen GF/F filters were ground and sonicated into 3 ml of acetone– water (90/10, v/v). For each sample, 500ml of acetone–water extract were mixed with 165ml ion pairing solution (tetrabutylammonium acetate buffered with ammonium acetate) and 35ml of trans-canthaxanthin (internal standard), and 100ml were injected automatically by a refrigerated (41C) automatic sampler Thermo AS3000 in a ODS2 C18 column (150 mm4.6 mm, with 3mm silica particles). The Thermo UV3000 detector scanned the range spectrum between 400 and 700 nm, and the effective detection was performed at 440 nm. The constametric pump used was a LDC Analytical Constametric 4100 with a flow 1 rate of 1 ml mn . Meteorological data (wind speed, irradiance) were obtained from the AVISO database (M!ete!o France) on a 0.51latitude0.51longitude grid. The daily wind speed (knots) is the 10 min averaged speed at 46.51N and 31W, at 06h00 21 UTC. Irradiance (Einstein m d ) is the daily integrated value in the visible spectrum at the sea surface. Three surface global positioning system (GPS) buoys were deployed at Stations 7, 8 and 9 to monitor surface water mass motion (position recording time-step: 1 h). River flow data were obtained from the Service Hydrologique Centrali-sateur (Nantes, France). Customary values of the tide coefficient were obtained from the SHOM: they represent the geographically normalised tidal amplitude and range between 20 (neap tide minimum) and 120 (spring tide maximum). The SeaWiFS pictures were obtained from the RSDAS research group (NERC, Plymouth La-
boratory); we used the composite colours RGB (stretched colour composite composed of the 555, 510 and 443 nm wavebands) in parallel with the chlorophyllaproduct (in-water chlorophylla concentration calculated using the SeaBAM algo-rithm, McClain, 1997). These processing techni-ques are detailed at:http://www.npm.ac.uk/rsdas/ doc/description.html. The comparison between HPCL chlorophyll and SeaWiFS chlorophyllahas been presented elsewhere (Gohin et al., in press). We have used the MICOM numerical model (code shallow water isopycnal) (Pichon, 1996) to simulate internal wave amplitudes in the vicinity of the continental slope (Maz!e, 1987; Langlois et al., 1990) in April 1998. The 3-D multi-layer model ran over 10 layers with semidiurnal (M2) tidal forcing without thermodynamical coupling. The density profile at Station 47, located at the shelf break, was used as initial reference (see Fig. 17b).
3. Results
3.1. Physical environment
The meteorological time series for March and April showed inverse evolution trends between irradiance and wind speed (Fig. 2). During the study period two maxima in river flow were observed (Fig. 3). In January 1998 heavy rainfalls resulted in increasing river flows of both
Fig. 2. Time-series of meteorological data (heavy line: daily irradiance; light line: 10-mn averaged wind speed at 06h00 UTC, 461N–31W).
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31 the Loire and Gironde (Q>At thes ). 2500 m end of the study period a similar maximum was 31 observed in early May (QEIn be-s ). 3000 m tween these periods, the Loire and Gironde river flows remained quite high (between 500 and 31 1000 m s ) during February and March. River flows in 1998 fell within the average range observed in the last decade (Lazure and Je!gou, 1998). In the study area, the northward geostrophic spreading of river plumes is known to favour the offshore advection of coastal waters as far as the continental slope during the spring transition (Lazure and J!egou, 1998; Hermida et al., 1998). At the end of April 1998, the main river plumes extended over the continental shelf as shown by the surface salinity distribution (Fig. 4a). The surface seawater exhibited a strong vertical haline stratification characteristic of the spring situation in that area. The Gironde plume was restricted to the coastal zone near the mouth of the estuary (Fig. 5c). To the north, the Loire and Vilaine plumes tended to spread towards the entire shelf section, especially at the northernmost boundary of the study area (Fig. 5a and b). The surface temperature distribution was characterised by a north-south gradient in the study area reflecting the beginning of spring warming (Fig. 4b). In front of the Gironde estuary, the seasonal thermocline was starting to develop offshore even though the
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Fig. 3. River flows of Gironde, Loire, and Vilaine between 01 January and 15 May 1998.
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Fig. 5. Vertical distribution of salinity on the three transects: transect 1(a), transect 2(b), and transect 3(c).
temperature gradient still remained low (o0.51C between surface and 40 m) (Fig. 6c). In the coastal area, the presence of the river plumes resulted in a thermal stratification superimposed on the haline stratification (Fig. 6); this was also the most important influence on the northern boundary of the study area (Fig. 6a). The density structure followed closely that of the salinity distribution, which demonstrated the major role of freshwater inputs in determining the spring physical structure over the study area (Fig. 7). The offshore thermal stratification slightly influenced the density struc-ture, especially in front of the Gironde estuary (Fig. 7c). During the study period, the trajectories of the GPS buoys gave information on the speed and direction of wind-induced surface currents. The buoys travelled between 55–95 km at an average
Fig. 6. Vertical distribution of temperature on the three transects: transect 1(a), transect 2(b), and transect 3(c).
1 speed of 1.7 cm s in a south-western residual direction (Fig. 8).
3.2. Phytoplankton distribution
Microphytoplankton and nanophytoplankton populations showed different distribution patterns over the study area (Fig. 9). Microphytoplankton concentrations were fairly 3 4 uniform in surface waters (range: 710 –310 1 cell l ) over the main part of the study area; 5 however, higher concentrations (up to 310 1 cell l ) were observed in the northern part, in front of the Vilaine estuary (Fig. 9a). In the area of high cell numbers, diatoms dominated the microphytoplankton, accounting for 89–93% of total cell numbers. Due to the relatively high and sustained river flow of Vilaine and the
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Fig. 7. Vertical distribution of density on the three transects: transect 1(a), transect 2(b), and transect 3(c).
wind-induced general surface water circulation, the high microphytoplankton cell numbers may have originated from the coastal Bay of Vilaine and then advected offshore. Chapelle et al. (1994) indicated that wind-induced circulation appears to be the major process for water renewal in that coastal ecosystem. The diatom distribution in surface waters (Fig. 9b) also showed the occur-rence offshore of two maxima close to each other 4 41 at Stations 7 and 46 (3.510 and 610 cell l , respectively). The dominant diatom species are shown in Fig. 10.Cerataulina pelagicadominated the diatom population in the northern area, influenced by the plumes of Loire and Vilaine (Fig. 10a).Leptocylindrusspp. dominated a transi-tion area in the centre of the study area (Fig. 10b). Rhizosoleniaspp. (mainlyRh. delicatula) appeared as typical of a diatom community located offshore
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in front of the Gironde estuary (Fig. 10c).Skele tonema costatumdominated the inshore waters between the mouth of Gironde and Loire estuaries (Fig. 10d). In the southern part of the study area, the contribution of diatoms was very low: this group represented only a few percent (o10%) of the microphytoplankton cell numbers, south of the mouth of the Gironde estuary. The microphyto-plankton was mainly composed of a mixed dinoflagellate population characterised by high numbers ofGymnodiniumspp. Nanophytoplankton maximum concentrations were located in offshore surface waters (values up 61 to 2.6(Fig. 9c), with coccolithophor-l ) 10 cell ids restricted to a particular band extending between the estuaries of Loire and Gironde (Fig. 9d). Optical microscopic observations re-vealed the existence of the greatest concentrations of coccolithophorids and nanophytoplankton in the same area, as shown in Fig. 9d; in the area of high nanophytoplankton cell numbers, coccolitho-phorid concentrations (counted on glutaraldehyde 61 preserved samples) reached up to 3.210 cells l 71 and 8.6at Station 6. Atcoccoliths l 10 free stations located in the band of maximal nanophy-toplankton concentration (1, 6, 8, 40, 42, 43, and 47), coccolithophorid cell numbers were character-61 istic of bloom populations, i.e. >110 cell l , according to Tyrrell and Taylor (1996). To the north, the coccolithophorid patch extended to Stations 9, 14, and 15, but with lower values 51 (p5l ). On the north-western bound-10 cell ary of the study area, a discrete maximum of 61 nanophytoplankton (2.9l ) 10 cell was ob-served at Station 23, not related to coccolitho-phorid distribution. SEM observations (Fig. 11) enabled identification of the coccolithophorids as E. huxleyi. Coccolith shape and element number per coccolith (ranging from 32 to 38), as shown in Fig. 11a and f, were characteristic ofE.huxleyi type A (Van Emburg, 1989; Van Bleijswijk et al., 1991). An important observation concerned the state of preservation of coccospheres: some were intact and showed well-preserved coccoliths, but we observed a gradation towards cocco-spheres showing apparently dissolved coccoliths (Fig. 11a–d). Occasionally, empty coccospheres
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(Fig. 11e) surrounded by intact coccoliths were observed, suggesting the escape of protoplasts from the coccolith envelope, a life cycle stage preceding cell division (Braarud, 1963; Paasche, 1964). It is noteworthy that theE. huxleyibloom was not monospecific but rather occurred in the offshore area already characterised by the mixed population ofRhizosoleniaspp. (see above) where we also observed the highest Chrysophyte (silico-2 3 flagellates) cell numbers (range: 210 –1.210 1 cell l ). In the same area, colonies ofPhaeocystis pouchetiiwere also present.
3.3. Pigment distribution
In the area where HPLC samples were taken, Chlaconcentrations increased southward
1 (Fig. 12) from 0.6mg ChlaStation 15 tol at 1 3.1mg Chlal south of 451N at Station 27. As primary taxonomic markers, alloxanthin 0 (allo), 19 -butanoyloxyfucoxanthin (19BF), fucox-anthin (fuco), peridinin (peri), prasinoxanthin 0 (prasi), zeaxanthin (zea), 19 -hexanoyloxyfucox-anthin (19HF) and chlorophyllb(Chlb) are, respectively, typical pigments of cryptophytes, chrysophytes (and pelagophytes), diatoms, photo-synthetic dinoflagellates, prasinophytes, coccoid cyanobacteria, prymnesiophytes and ‘‘green
" Fig. 9. Spatial distribution of major phytoplankton groups 31 (10 cell l ) in surface waters (5 m): (a) total microphytoplank-ton, (b) diatoms, (c) total nanophytoplankton, (d) coccolitho-phorids. In the area without contour plots values are lower than the nearest contour.
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25
1˚W 48˚N
(c) 44˚N 5˚W
2˚W
22 (2002) 1225–1247
30
0 3 10
46˚N
45˚N
0 1
30
10
30
3˚W
47˚N
1˚W 48˚N
2˚W
45
4˚W
5˚W 48˚N
1234
47˚N
4060 50 3020 10340 0 20 10 10
0 20 3 10
45˚N
50
4˚W
5˚W 48˚N
0 2
47˚N
45˚N
44˚N 1˚W
2˚W
1 0
10
10
47˚N
10 30 70 50
30 50
4˚W
10
4˚W
5
5˚W 48˚N
5
(b) 44˚N 5˚W
4˚W
4˚W
47˚N
10
50
2˚W
3˚W
4˚W
45˚N
46˚N
10 0 3 50 10
5 0
70
70
10 30 50
5˚W 48˚N
5
3˚W
5
5
5
25
46˚N
46˚N
44˚N 1˚W
47˚N
4˚W
30
10
10
10
10
10
L. Lampert et al. /
2˚W
3˚W
10 20 3010
3040
46˚N
5
25
5
5
(a) 44˚N 5˚W
45˚N
46˚N
5
25 5 4 5 65 5 25 45
25
5
65 25 45 4525 25 5 5 5
(d) 44˚N 5˚W
45˚N
47˚N
1˚W 48˚N
2˚W
3˚W
45˚N
44˚N 1˚W
45˚N
46˚N
46˚N
47˚N
10 0 3 50 70 30 1 0
10 10 0 2 020 021 1 30 0 50