Influence of advection on scales of ecological studies in a coastal equilibrium flow

I. Hillmer, Jorg Imberger

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    17 Citations (Web of Science)


    Spatial patterns are generated as a result of the coupling between biogeochemical and physical processes and the ability to capture and reproduce patchiness is crucial for the better comprehension of an ecosystem and its response to external perturbations. A I D reaction-diffusion-advection equation is used to investigate the formation of patterns and relevant time and spatial scales and thus define an approach for the determination of a critical domain size that allows differentiation of the role of local and internal cycling from advective fluxes across the open boundaries in a shallow coastal ecosystem. By using a 3D numerical model, in conjunction with an extensive field data set, it is shown that domain sizes must be larger than this critical value in order to capture the patterns generated within the system. For smaller domains, the evolution of the system is controlled by transport processes across the boundaries misleading the interpretation of the internal ecological dynamics. The study of the influence of boundary fluxes on ecological patchiness was motivated by the need to define the size of the domain necessary for the assessment of the impact of a sewage outflow on a coastal regime. (c) 2006 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)134-153
    JournalContinental Shelf Research
    Issue number1
    Publication statusPublished - 2007


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