Journal cover Journal topic
Biogeosciences An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
Journal topic
Volume 2, issue 2
Biogeosciences, 2, 205–218, 2005
https://doi.org/10.5194/bg-2-205-2005
© Author(s) 2005. This work is licensed under
the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 2.5 License.
Biogeosciences, 2, 205–218, 2005
https://doi.org/10.5194/bg-2-205-2005
© Author(s) 2005. This work is licensed under
the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 2.5 License.

  04 Aug 2005

04 Aug 2005

Control of phytoplankton production by physical forcing in a strongly tidal, well-mixed estuary

X. Desmit1, J. P. Vanderborght1, P. Regnier2, and R. Wollast1,† X. Desmit et al.
  • 1Laboratory of Chemical Oceanography and Water Geochemistry and Department of Water Pollution Control, Université Libre de Bruxelles, Boulevard du Triomphe (CP208), 1050 Brussels, Belgium
  • 2Biogeochemical System Dynamics, Department of Geochemistry, Utrecht University, PO Box 80.021, 3508 TA Utrecht, The Netherlands
  • Deceased on 28 July 2004

Abstract. A zero-dimensional model for phytoplanktonic production in turbid, macro-tidal, well-mixed estuaries is proposed. It is based on the description of light-dependent algal growth, phytoplankton respiration and mortality. The model is forced by simple time-functions for solar irradiance, water depth and light penetration. The extinction coefficient is directly related to the dynamics of suspended particulate matter. Model results show that the description of phytoplankton growth must operate at a time resolution sufficiently high to describe the interference between solarly and tidally driven physical forcing functions. They also demonstrate that in shallow to moderately deep systems, simulations using averaged, instead of time-varying, forcing functions lead to significant errors in the estimation of phytoplankton productivity. The highest errors are observed when the temporal pattern of light penetration, linked to the tidal cycle of solids settling and resuspension, is neglected. The model has also been applied using realistic forcing functions typical of two locations in the Scheldt estuary. Model results are consistent with the typical phytoplankton decay observed along the longitudinal, seaward axis in the tidal river and oligohaline part of this estuary.

Publications Copernicus
Download
Citation