To investigate the relationships between coastal eutrophication, stratification of the water column, plankton biomass development and the "blooming" of harmful or toxic phytoplankton species.
The project will address the following tasks:
A) Determination of the importance of macronutrients with emphasis on the establishment of the limiting factor(s), for algal blooms in the N-Adriatic Sea, along a 235 km coastal stretch between the Po delta and the Manche region (near Ancona town).
B) Evaluation of the importance of macronutrient ratios (N/P/Si) on the structure of the phytoplankton community.
C) Assessment of the importance of zooplankton grazing as a factor which may change the phytoplankton structure towards the dominance of harmful or toxic species.
Field cruises on board research vessels of various sizes will be performed along transects, perpendicular to the coastline, comprising the whole range of hydrological and nutritional conditions (from mixed, eutrophic estuarine to stratified, oligotrophic offshore waters) to analyse CTD, light energy, inorganic and organic nutrients, algal and bacterial biomass and productivity and sinking rates of living and inorganic particles, with particular emphasis on the size distribution and structure of algal biomass (chlorophyll a and phaeopigments).
The field studies will be complemented by mesocosm and laboratory investigations, which will include algal growth potential tests, nutrient enrichment bioassays, algal competition tests for nutrients, grazing experiments etc.
A hydrodynamic model which will simulate the transport of the water masses in the area will be combined with an ecological model of phytoplankton production and decay. The model, validated on measured data, from the project as well as from literature data finally aims to be applied as a predictive tool for harmful algal blooms as well as a management tool for reducing the development of harmful algal blooms.
Funding SchemeCSC - Cost-sharing contracts
223 62 Lund
2825 Monte De Caparica