Meteorological and oceanographic conditions in the Northern Adriatic Sea in a year notable for massive mucilage formation (2004) were compared with those in years where this phenomenon did not occur (2003, 2005 and 2006) to suggest possible links. The months preceding the mucilage event in 2004 were considered the ‘incubation period’ and were characterized by a strong freshet in May which increased the water column stability. Winter cooling and scarcity of freshwater inputs from the Po River triggered the dense water formation and intrusion in the northern basin. Weak southeasterly winds and an increase in surface seawater temperatures contributed to maintain and reinforce the water column stability, and at the same time an intense diatom spring bloom created the conditions for accumulation of organic matter. The interplay of climatological forcings and biological processes caused temporal variations of dissolved organic carbon (DOC) and particulate organic carbon (POC) in the basin, with POC playing an important role in the aggregation process, as suggested by its increase relative to DOC before massive mucilage formation. We therefore suggest that high POC⁄ total particulate nitrogen ratios in the suspended particulate organic fraction, a steep increase of POC⁄ Chlorphyll a, and the decreased DOC⁄POC ratios represent ‘early warning’ signals of the main processes that lead to mucilage events in the Northern Adriatic Sea.

Influence of winds and oceanographic conditions on the mucilage aggregation in the Northern Adriatic Sea in 2003-2006

Giani M
2008

Abstract

Meteorological and oceanographic conditions in the Northern Adriatic Sea in a year notable for massive mucilage formation (2004) were compared with those in years where this phenomenon did not occur (2003, 2005 and 2006) to suggest possible links. The months preceding the mucilage event in 2004 were considered the ‘incubation period’ and were characterized by a strong freshet in May which increased the water column stability. Winter cooling and scarcity of freshwater inputs from the Po River triggered the dense water formation and intrusion in the northern basin. Weak southeasterly winds and an increase in surface seawater temperatures contributed to maintain and reinforce the water column stability, and at the same time an intense diatom spring bloom created the conditions for accumulation of organic matter. The interplay of climatological forcings and biological processes caused temporal variations of dissolved organic carbon (DOC) and particulate organic carbon (POC) in the basin, with POC playing an important role in the aggregation process, as suggested by its increase relative to DOC before massive mucilage formation. We therefore suggest that high POC⁄ total particulate nitrogen ratios in the suspended particulate organic fraction, a steep increase of POC⁄ Chlorphyll a, and the decreased DOC⁄POC ratios represent ‘early warning’ signals of the main processes that lead to mucilage events in the Northern Adriatic Sea.
Adriatic sea; Dissolved organic carbon; mucilage
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/20.500.14083/748
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