Biogeographical Classification of the Global Ocean From BGC-Argo Floats

Nicholas Bock, Marin Cornec, Hervé Claustre, Solange Duhamel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Biogeographical classifications of the global ocean generalize spatiotemporal trends in species or biomass distributions across discrete ocean biomes or provinces. These classifications are generally based on a combination of remote-sensed proxies of phytoplankton biomass and global climatologies of biogeochemical or physical parameters. However, these approaches are limited in their capacity to account for subsurface variability in these parameters. The deployment of autonomous profiling floats in the Biogeochemical Argo network over the last decade has greatly increased global coverage of subsurface measurements of bio-optical proxies for phytoplankton biomass and physiology. In this study, we used empirical orthogonal function analysis to identify the main components of variability in a global data set of 422 annual time series of Chlorophyll a fluorescence and optical backscatter profiles. Applying cluster analysis to these results, we identified six biomes within the global ocean: two high-latitude biomes capturing summer bloom dynamics in the North Atlantic and Southern Ocean and four mid- and low-latitude biomes characterized by variability in the depth and frequency of deep chlorophyll maximum formation. We report the distribution of these biomes along with associated trends in biogeochemical and physicochemical environmental parameters. Our results demonstrate light and nutrients to explain most variability in phytoplankton distributions for all biomes, while highlighting a global inverse relationship between particle stocks in the euphotic zone and transfer efficiency into the mesopelagic zone. In addition to partitioning seasonal variability in vertical phytoplankton distributions at the global scale, our results provide a potentially novel biogeographical classification of the global ocean.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere2021GB007233
JournalGlobal Biogeochemical Cycles
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 2022


  • BGC-Argo
  • bio-optical proxies
  • marine biogeography
  • phytoplankton community structure

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Global and Planetary Change
  • Environmental Chemistry
  • General Environmental Science
  • Atmospheric Science


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