Document Type

Master's Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science (M.S.)


Moss Landing Marine Laboratories


Using an extensive mooring time series from the outer edge of Stillwater Cove, this study investigated the oceanographic dynamics and their contribution to nutrient delivery in Carmel Bay. Carmel Bay is small embayment located at the northern end of the Big Sur coast, and it is distinguished by having a submarine canyon within extremely close proximity to the beach. This embayment is open to open ocean coastal California Current conditions; however, it also provides a sheltered environment from wind and swell. No previous studies have been conducted on the circulation features of Carmel Bay and Stillwater Cove, and HF radar coverage does not extend into Carmel Bay. Point source mooring time series measurements were used to explain in great detail the temporal variability of hydrographic conditions and nutrient delivery to Stillwater Cove and Carmel Bay. A model was developed to estimate the annual nutrient delivery budget in Stillwater Cove due to internal waves, upwelling, and terrestrial sources. Consistent internal waves were observed in Stillwater Cove during stratified conditions, and vertical velocities due to internal tidal pumping in Carmel Canyon were 15 m/hr. The spatial variability of the internal tide at locations spanning the greater Monterey Bay was also examined. Locations within close proximity to submarine canyons had an additional source of nutrients via internal waves, while locations on the shelf lacked this mechanism and had to rely on upwelling alone.


Thesis (M.S.) Division of Science and Environmental Policy. Moss Landing Marine Laboratories