Phytoplankton biomass in coastal waters is largely controlled by local hydrographic conditions, which alters the light environment and nutritive conditions for phytoplankton growth. Moreover, local hydrodynamics and water masses residence times interfere on the spatial distribution and maintenance of plankton community locally. The São Sebastião channel and the Araçá bay are areas of ecological and economically interest, but there were few systematic studies conducted in this region up to now, specially concerning the primary producers. There are evidences for two main forcings modifying the hydrological characteristics of the São Sebastião channel, with potential effects on the structure of phytoplankton communities. Those represent eventual nutrient loads by the South Atlantic Central Waters (SACW), frequent during summer months, and the passage of frontal weather systems, more intense and frequent during winter. Alterations on the hydrodynamic of the channel my affect the water flow between the channel and coastal bays, such as the Araçá bay. This work aims to estimate the spatial/temporal variation of phytoplankton biomass, within three size classes (pico, nano and micro) and associate these results with distinct water mass present in the São Sebastião channel and the passage of frontal systems at the region. This study will improve the understanding of planktonic communities dynamics and may provide insights for future studies on their diversity in the region as well.
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