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Comparative analysis of food webs based on flow networks: effects of nutrient supply on structure and function of coastal plankton communities

Reference no: MAS3-CT96-0052
Acronym: COMWEB
Period: May 1996 till April 1999
Status: Completed

Thesaurus terms: Coastal waters; Eutrophication; Food webs; Nutrients (mineral); Pelagic environment; Plankton
Geographical terms: ANE, Baltic Sea, Oder Estuary [Marine Regions]; ANE, North Sea, Southern Bight [Marine Regions]; MED, Mediterranean [Marine Regions]

Institute  Top 
  • Vrije Universiteit Brussel; Faculteit Wetenschappen & Bio-ingenieurswetenschappen; Vakgroep Chemie; Analytical, Environmental and Geochemistry (AMGC), more

Marine pelagic systems are highly dynamical and flexible with respect to nutrient enrichment, and the structure of the pelagic ecosystem may strongly affect the fate of the nutrients and hence the eutrophication process of coastal waters. Comweb is an integrated holistic approach to mechanisms behind coastal eutrophication and impact assessment of human and natural nutrient supply.
Comweb will examine the effects of variable nutrient supply to coastal pelagic waters by analysis of the flows and components of the major biogenic elements C, N, P, and Si in the lower pelagic food web. The integrated information of flows and components of a given element in the food web are denoted flow networks. The project will establish optimized flow networks for the major types of European coastal waters by use of mathematical inverse methods. Flow networks represent unified information which allow comparison of coastal waters over wide biogeographical and trophic state gradients, and the project will contribute to further develop and improve these methods.
Five cases of European coastal waters will be studied in the project: 1) The Baltic Sea, 2) The Mediterranean Sea, 3) NE-Atlantic waters; unaffected by humans, 4) NE-Atlantic waters; artificially eutrophicated, and 5) NE-Atlantic waters; eutrophicated. These cases involve both a geographic gradient (1-3) and a trophic state gradient for NE Atlantic waters (3-5). Regional representative flow networks of C, N, P and Si will be established for all these cases of coastal waters.

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