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  • The Marine Productivity (MarProd) programme data set comprises physical, biological and biogeochemical data, including hydrographic profiles (temperature, salinity, fluorescence, dissolved oxygen, photosynthetically active radiation (PAR)), and samples of nutrients, suspended particulate material, dissolved material, phytoplankton and zooplankton. These data were supplemented by continuous underway measurements of bathymetry, surface hydrography (temperature, salinity, fluorescence and attenuance), meteorology (wind speed and direction, PAR and total incident irradiance, air temperature, humidity and atmospheric pressure), remote sensing of sea surface temperature and ocean colour, and by production experiments. The data were collected in UK shelf seas and the North Atlantic Ocean between 2000 and 2002. Surface biogeochemical parameters (nutrients, photosynthesis, production, suspended particulate material and dissolved organic material) were measured during cruises in the Irish Sea in May, June and July 2001, while ongoing hydrographic and plankton time-series at Plymouth Marine Laboratory's L4 sampling station are also included in the data set. However, the bulk of the data were collected during a major fieldwork campaign of four dedicated research cruises on RRS Discovery between November 2001 and December 2002. A total of over 800 gear deployments were performed at 159 stations mainly distributed in the Irminger Sea and Iceland Basin, facilitating the measurement of water mass distribution, velocity field and mixed layer properties. A comprehensive water sampling programme was undertaken for the purposes of plant pigment and microscopic analyses; biomass estimations of different taxonomic/functional groups of microplankton (picoplankton, phytoplankton and microzooplankton); high resolution profiles of inorganic nutrient concentrations; and determination of abundance of key zooplankton species (Calanus finmarchicus, Oithona spp. and euphausiids). Process studies were undertaken to obtain information about factors controlling the reproduction, growth, mortality and behaviour of individual species using physiological studies (feeding experiments, egg production and nauplii development, species interactions) and analyses of biochemical composition (lipids and hormones studies, analyses of carbon/nitrogen and stable isotope ratios composition). Phytoplankton primary production was measured using carbon uptake on the last two cruises and additional data were collected using a Fast Repetition Rate Fluorometer (FRRF) through continuous surface underway sampling and vertical deployments. MarProd's main objective was to investigate the population dynamics of key zooplankton species in UK shelf seas and in the northern Atlantic with emphasis on the manner in which physical factors such as water temperature and oceanic currents influence their distribution, abundance and productivity. The MarProd Programme involved researchers from numerous institutions from the UK, Ireland and Spain. The data are archived at the British Oceanographic Data Centre.

  • The data set comprises measurement of physical and biological oceanographic parameters from the Western English Channel, initially collected as part of the Plankton Monitoring Programme at Station L4 from 1988 onwards. L4 is one of a series of hydrographic stations in the Western English Channel which have also been the basis of a series of hydrographic surveys carried out during the 20th Century by scientists at the Marine Biological Association in Plymouth. In May 2002 sampling expanded to include Station E1, approximately 25 nautical miles south-west of Plymouth. Plankton Monitoring began through the work of the Plymouth Marine Laboratory (PML) Zooplankton Group. Other stations include Rame head, Jennycliff, Plmouth Deep and Cawsand. A long-term time-series of weekly observations has been established by exploiting the activities of small boats (Sepia, Squilla and Plymouth Quest) in an opportunistic way as by-product of their other sampling activities, for example the collection of live plankton, sea-water, trawling for fish and squid. Initially no formal research programme or long-term funding for the Plankton Monitoring existed but the series was included in NERC Oceans 2025 funding as a Sustained Observatory and continues to be funded under NERC National Capability. Funding has been provided over different time periods under various names but the programme is commonly referred to as the Western Channel Observatory (WCO), with additional funding allowing additional data collection to take place, taking advantage of the core measurements. Although every attempt has been made to standardise methodology and achieve data consistency it is important to recognize that the varied personnel and research objectives that have contributed to this dataset may impact on the nature of the data set. The core datasets are made available through the website. Data are also submitted to BODC where it is archived and published with a DOI at finer granules. At BODC further meta(data) checks take place and metadata are enriched and served through BODC systems with PML originators informed of any changes to data.