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J Environ Manage. 2012 Dec 15;112:340-52. doi: 10.1016/j.jenvman.2012.08.019. Epub 2012 Sep 8.

A model for describing the eutrophication in a heavily regulated coastal lagoon. Application to the Albufera of Valencia (Spain).

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Environmental Hydraulics Institute IH Cantabria, C/Isabel Torres n° 15, Parque Científico y Tecnológico de Cantabria, 39011 Santander, Spain.


A simplified two-dimensional eutrophication model was developed to simulate temporal and spatial variations of chlorophyll-a in heavily regulated coastal lagoons. This model considers the hydrodynamics of the whole study area, the regulated connexion of the lagoon with the sea, the variability of the input and output nutrient loads, the flux from the sediments to the water column, the phytoplankton growth and mortality kinetics, and the zooplankton grazing. The model was calibrated and validated by applying it to the Albufera of Valencia, a hypertrophic system whose connection to the sea is strongly regulated by a system of sluice-gates. The calibration and validation results presented a significant agreement between the model and the data obtained in several surveys. The accuracy was evaluated using a quantitative analysis, in which the average uncertainty of the model prediction was less than 6%. The results confirmed an expected phytoplankton bloom in April and October, achieving mean maximum values around 250 μg l(-1) of chlorophyll-a. A mass balance revealed that the eutrophication process is magnified by the input loads of nutrients, mainly from the sediments, as well as by the limited connection of the lagoon with the sea. This study has shown that the developed model is an efficient tool to manage the eutrophication problem in heavily regulated coastal lagoons.

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