In recent decades, it has been found useful to partition the pelagic environment using the concept of biogeochemical provinces, or BGCPs, within each of which it is assumed that environmental conditions are distinguishable and unique at global scale. The boundaries between provinces respond to features of physical oceanography and, ideally, should follow seasonal and inter-annual changes in ocean dynamics. But this ideal has not been fulfilled except for small regions of the oceans. Moreover, BGCPs have been used only as static entities having boundaries that were originally established to compute global primary production. In the present study, a new statistical methodology based on non-parametric procedures is implemented to capture the environmental characteristics within 56 BGCPs. Four main environmental parameters (bathymetry, chlorophyll-a concentration, surface temperature and salinity) are used to infer the spatial distribution of each BGCP over 1997–2007. The resulting dynamic partition allows us to integrate changes in the distribution of BGCPs at seasonal and inter-annual timescales, and so introduces the possibility of detecting spatial shifts in environmental conditions.
Chemistry and Pharmacology