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An adjoint data assimilation approach was used to quantify the physical and biological controls on Calanus finmarchicus N3–C6 stages on Georges Bank and its nearby environs. The mean seasonal cycle of vertically averaged distributions, from 5 years of the GLOBEC Georges Bank Broad-Scale Surveys between January and June, was assimilated into a physical–biological model based on the climatological circulation. Large seasonal and spatial variability is present in the inferred supply sources, mortality rates, computed molting fluxes, and physical transports. Estimated mortalities fall within the range of observed rates, and exhibit stage structure that is consistent with earlier findings. Inferred off-bank initial conditions indicate that the deep basins in the Gulf of Maine are source regions of early stage nauplii and late-stage copepodids in January. However, the population increase on Georges Bank from January to April is controlled mostly by local biological processes. Magnitudes of the physical transport terms are nearly as large as the mortality and molting fluxes, but their bank-wide averages are small in comparison to the biological terms. The hypothesis of local biological control is tested in a sensitivity experiment in which upstream sources are set to zero. In that solution, the lack of upstream sources is compensated by a decrease in mortality that is much smaller than the uncertainty in observational estimates.

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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.