Home >> Publications >> Eastern Caribbean Circulation and Island Mass Effect on St. Croix, US Virgin Islands: A Mechanism for Relatively Consistent Recruitment Patterns

Eastern Caribbean Circulation and Island Mass Effect on St. Croix, US Virgin Islands: A Mechanism for Relatively Consistent Recruitment Patterns

TitleEastern Caribbean Circulation and Island Mass Effect on St. Croix, US Virgin Islands: A Mechanism for Relatively Consistent Recruitment Patterns
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2016
AuthorsChérubin, LMarcel, Garavelli, L
JournalPloS One
Volume11
Paginatione0150409
ISSN1932-6203
Abstract

The northeastern Caribbean Sea is under the seasonal influence of the Trade Winds but also of the Orinoco/Amazon freshwater plume. The latter is responsible for intensification of the Caribbean Current in general and of its eddy activity in the northern part of the Caribbean Sea. More importantly, we show in this study that the front of the freshwater plume drives a northward flow that impinges directly on the island of St. Croix in the United States Virgin Islands. The angle of incidence of the incoming flow controls the nature of the wake on both sides and ends of the island, which changes from cyclonic to anticylonic wake flow, with either attached or shed eddies. Using an off-line bio-physical model, we simulated the dispersal and recruitment of an abundant Caribbean coral reef fish, the bluehead wrasse (Thalassoma bifasciatum) in the context of the wake flow variability around St. Croix. Our results revealed the role played by the consistent seasonal forcing of the wake flow on the recruitment patterns around the island at the interannual scale. The interannual variability of the timing of arrival and northward penetration of the plume instead controls the nature of the wake, hence the regional spatial recruitment patterns.

DOI10.1371/journal.pone.0150409