Title: Major fertilization sources and mechanisms for Mediterranean Sea coastal ecosystems
Citation: LIMNOLOGY AND OCEANOGRAPHY vol. 63 no. 2 p. 897-914
Publication Year: 2018
JRC N°: JRC106986
ISSN: 0024-3590
URI: https://aslopubs.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1002/lno.10677
DOI: 10.1002/lno.10677
Type: Articles in periodicals and books
Abstract: The Mediterranean Sea is considered an oligotrophic basin with a few biological production hotspots. Some of these productive regions are under the influence of large rivers’ discharges and have been described to suffer from eutrophication indications. In order to quantify the impact of the river-borne nutrients for the pelagic production levels and bottom oxygen conditions in the northern coast of the Mediterranean Sea, two hindcast simulations using a coupled hydrodynamic-biogeochemical model are compared. Both simulations cover a 60 year period and are identical except for the rivers conditions, one is performed considering realistic nutrient levels in the rivers’ waters while the second has no nutrients coming from the freshwater discharges. Comparing these two simulations we found that nutrients in the rivers are responsible for a large fraction of the pelagic primary production and for the totality of bottom hypoxic zones in both the Adriatic and Aegean basin. On the contrary, river fertilization is of marginal importance for the coastal ecosystem of the NW Mediterranean Sea, where mesoscale processes and associated vertical transport of nutrients are the main processes responsible for the majority of the production. We, finally, discuss the consequences of these fundamental differences in fertilization for freshwater management and ecosystems status evaluation in the light of different policy options and within the context of future climate change.
JRC Directorate:Sustainable Resources

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