Title: Non-Redfieldian dynamics driven by phytoplankton phosphate frugality explain nutrients and chlorophyll patterns in model simulations for the Mediterranean Sea
Citation: PROGRESS IN OCEANOGRAPHY vol. 173 p. 37-50
Publication Year: 2019
JRC N°: JRC113195
ISSN: 0079-6611 (online)
URI: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0079661118301678?via%3Dihub
DOI: 10.1016/j.pocean.2019.02.005
Type: Articles in periodicals and books
Abstract: The relative abundance of nitrate (N) over phosphate (P) measured as a molar ratio (N:P) is typically considered to determine the macronutrient limiting marine primary production. In low-complexity biogeochemical models, a simple threshold value is usually applied based on the canonical Redfield ratio (N:P=16). However, the N:P ratio is not constant in many oceanic areas, especially marginal, semi-enclosed seas, such as the Mediterranean basin. In this work, a flexible definition of the N:P ratio based on the capacity of phytoplankton to modulate phosphate uptake according to its availability in seawater, the so-called Line of Frugality, is incorporated into the biogeochemical model MedERGOM. This modification allows the acquisition of a more realistic representation of the stoichiometry of nutrients in the Mediterranean basin and allows to better reproduce the observed phytoplankton biomass in productive areas such as the Gulf of Gabes and the Adriatic Sea. This approach is, thus, especially suitable for coastal areas in which basin-scale biogeochemical models fail to reproduce patterns observed by remote sensing or in situ measurements. Our results show that implementation of the stoichiometric flexibility of phytoplankton in a low-complexity biogeochemical model enhances the reproducibility of ecosystem dynamics without increasing the computational demand, representing a simple approximation easily implemented in models aiming to describe regions with a Non-Redfieldian stoichiometry.
JRC Directorate:Sustainable Resources

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