Modelling seasonal dynamics of biomasses and nitrogen contents in a seagrass meadow (Zostera noltii Hornem.): application to the Thau lagoon (French Mediterranean coast)

Type Article
Date 2003-03
Language English
Author(s) Plus MartinORCID, Chapelle Annie, Menesguen Alain, Deslous-Paoli Jean-Marc, Auby IsabelleORCID
Affiliation(s) European Commiss, JRC, Inland & Marine Waters Unit, Inst Environm & Sustainabil, I-21020 Ispra, VA, Italy.
IFREMER, Dept DEL EC, F-29280 Plouzane, France.
IFREMER, Lab DRV RA, F-34250 Palavas Les Flots, France.
IFREMER, Lab DEL AR, F-33120 Arcachon, France.
Source Ecological Modelling (0304-3800) (Elsevier), 2003-03 , Vol. 161 , N. 3 , P. 213-238
DOI 10.1016/S0304-3800(02)00350-2
WOS© Times Cited 29
Keyword(s) Thau lagoon, Nitrogen cycle, Oxygen cycle, Box model, Seagrass ecosystem
Abstract A numerical deterministic model for a seagrass ecosystem (Zostera noltii meadows) has been developed for the Thau lagoon. It involves both above- and belowground seagrass biomasses, nitrogen quotas and epiphytes. Driving variables are light intensity, wind speed, rain data and water temperature. This seagrass model has been coupled to another biological model in order to simulate the relative contributions of each primary producer to: (i) the total ecosystem production, (ii) the impact on inorganic nitrogen and (iii) the fluxes towards the detritus compartment. As a first step in the modelling of seagrass beds in the Thau lagoon, the model has a vertical structure based on four boxes (a water box on top of, three sediment boxes) and the horizontal variability is neglected until now. This simple box structure is nevertheless representative for the shallow depth Z. noltii meadows, spread over large areas at the lagoon periphery.

After calibration, simulation results have been compared with in situ measurements and have shown that the model is able to reproduce the general pattern of biomasses and nitrogen contents seasonal dynamics. Moreover, results show that, in such shallow ecosystems, seagrasses remain the most productive compartment when compared with epiphytes or phytoplankton productions, and that seagrasses, probably due to their ability in taking nutrients in the sediment, have a lower impact on nutrient concentration in the water column than the phytoplankton. Furthermore, in spite of active mechanisms of internal nitrogen redistribution and reclamation, the occurrence of a nitrogen limitation of the seagrass growth during summer, already mentioned in the literature, have also been pointed out by the model. Finally, simulations seems to point out that epiphytes and phytoplankton could compete. for nitrogen in the water column, while a competition for light resources seems to be more likely between epiphytes and seagrasses.
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Plus Martin, Chapelle Annie, Menesguen Alain, Deslous-Paoli Jean-Marc, Auby Isabelle (2003). Modelling seasonal dynamics of biomasses and nitrogen contents in a seagrass meadow (Zostera noltii Hornem.): application to the Thau lagoon (French Mediterranean coast). Ecological Modelling, 161(3), 213-238. Publisher's official version : https://doi.org/10.1016/S0304-3800(02)00350-2 , Open Access version : https://archimer.ifremer.fr/doc/00000/461/