Changes in nutrient concentrations and ratios during mucilage events in the period 1999-2002.
ABSTRACT Nutrient and chlorophyll a concentrations and salinity were measured, approximately monthly, from June 1999 to July 2002 at 20 stations along three transects in the northern Adriatic Sea, north of the line Susak Island-Senigallia, with the aim of confirming or rejecting the hypothesis that changes in nutrient ratios may have an important role in the mucilage phenomenon. The data analyses were focused on the two major water types identified in the region: lower salinity (32-37) and oxygenated surface waters (type 1) in which the mucilage phenomenon primarily developed, and high salinity water originating from other parts of the Adriatic (type 4). Marked variability of dissolved inorganic nitrogen (DIN) in type 1 waters was roughly correlated with extreme fluctuations of the Po River flow rate during the investigated period. In contrast, the orthophosphate (PO4) concentration was primarily controlled by phytoplankton assimilation. The nutrient discharges and DIN/PO4 ratios (median 120) in the freshened surface layer were much higher and more variable in the period before the mucilage event in 2001 than in 2000 (median 75), and particularly in 2002 (median 30), although intensity and duration of the 2001 event were the lowest. However, in that period of 2000 and 2002 significant transversal transport of freshened waters occurred, despite the unusually low Po flow rates. In summer, in conditions of low freshwater discharge and the prevailing of semi-enclosed circulation in the region, more efficient DIN assimilation by phytoplankton occurred, probably due to a faster recycling of PO4. However, in 2002 this process appeared to have already started in March. Changes of the orthosilicate (SiO4)/DIN ratio were mainly dependent on DIN concentrations. In the more saline waters (type 4) the nutrient concentrations, particularly DIN, were much lower and no significant relationships were noticed among the studied parameters. Nutrient concentration and ratio changes do not trigger mucilage events, although very probably they have an essential role in combination with several other physical (pulsing freshwater discharge, marked stratification, minimal water exchange) and biological (e.g., increased plankton excretion, limited bacterial degradation) factors.
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ABSTRACT: Mucilage events (formation of very large organic aggregates and gelatinous surface layers) have been documented several times during the past two centuries in the northern Adriatic Sea (NA), while their frequency has significantly increased since 1988. In this work, meteorological and oceanographic conditions in the NA during the period June 1999-July 2002 are described and their relation to the outbreak and fate of the mucilage phenomenon was investigated. Salinity and temperature data were collected during approximately monthly cruises along three transects in the NA. Relevant meteorological situations (air temperature, rainfall, wind) were selected from large-scale ECMWF analyses and from the Local Analysis and Prediction System (LAPS; Emilia Romagna Meteorological Service), while sea conditions (waves) were analysed by means of the Wave Adriatic Model (WAM). Data for air temperature, rainfall, and wind from several meteorological stations in the region were used. Average seasonal cycles of sea temperature and salinity simulated with statistical models, based on historical data collected in the NA since 1972, were used to determine thermal and haline anomalies. The monthly anomaly variability of maximum and minimum air temperatures, rainfall amount and number of rainy days did not appear to be relevant for the mucilage phenomenon outbreak. In contrast, both vertical and horizontal thermohaline gradients in the region were more developed during late spring and summer of 2000 and particularly of 2002, when the mucilage events were of greatest extent in space and time, compared to 2001 (short-lived event) and 1999 (no event). These more pronounced gradients were due to a combination of several unusual conditions: sharp heating of the sea surface in May-June, domination of eastwards transport of freshened waters formed in the Po Delta area, and intrusion of very high salinity intermediate waters originating in the eastern Mediterranean. Moreover, in winter of both 2000 and 2002 very dense and cold water formed and remained in the bottom layer until spring, contributing to increase the stratification degree of the water column. The duration of the mucilage events and their spatial distribution in the region depend strongly on meteorological changes. Recurrent anticyclonic conditions, characterized by low wind and calm sea, favour extended events in time (up 2 months in 2002). In contrast, highly perturbed weather, particularly due to strong "bora" wind, can be determined in sharp decay of the event (e.g. in July 2000).Science of The Total Environment 01/2006; 353(1-3):24-38. · 3.26 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: The dramatic increase in the occurrence of massive mucilage events in the northern Adriatic (NA) since their recent conspicuous reappearance in the late 1980s prompted a study of circulation and horizontal fluxes. Three transects with equidistant stations (10 km) were thus monitored monthly between June 1999 and July 2002. The geostrophic method was used to compute currents across the three transects from the CTD data, and dynamic heights provided a picture of the horizontal surface circulation. Currentmeter data records were used to adjust the reference surface and to validate the results for the southernmost and deeper (up to 70 m) transect (Senigallia-Susak Island). Geostrophic currents allowed estimation of monthly water fluxes across the transect. Different circulation regimes in the NA were observed, which may have affected mucilage events. When mucilage was absent (1999) or reduced (2001) in the western sector, the Western Adriatic Current (WAC, carrying water out of the NA) was found to be active, whilst the WAC was very weak or reversed when massive mucilage events occurred (2000 and 2002). Opposite behaviour has been observed for the Istrian Coastal Counter-Current (ICCC, retaining freshwater water in the NA) which was more intense during or after massive mucilage events and did not appear when mucilage was absent. Both WAC weakening and ICCC strengthening indicate a longer residence time of riverine waters in the NA, which favours mucilage development. Conclusively, WAC and ICCC result as key elements in controlling massive mucilage phenomena in the NA.Science of The Total Environment 01/2006; 353(1-3):57-67. · 3.26 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Several procedures for ammonia determination in natural waters by the colorimetric indophenol blue method were tested. Solórzano's procedure, with phenol-alcohol, nitroprusside, alkaline citrate and hypochlorite as reagents, was shown to be appropriate for routine work. An improvement of this procedure was obtained by replacing hypochlorite with sodium dichloro-iso-cyanurate, by adding the catalyst after all other reagents, and by increasing the working pH. Concentration factors are statistically the same as in the original procedure, but the reagent blanks are lower and the color develops faster, both in fresh and in sea water.Water Research. 01/1984;