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Assessing the impact of nutrient enrichment in estuaries: susceptibility to eutrophication
Painting, S.J.; Devlin, M.; Malcolm, S.J.; Parker, E.R.; Mills, D.K.; Mills, C.; Tett, P.; Wither, A.W.; Burt, J.; Jones, R.; Winpenny, K. (2007). Assessing the impact of nutrient enrichment in estuaries: susceptibility to eutrophication, in: Devlin, M. et al. (Ed.) Implementation of the Water Framework Directive in European marine waters. Marine Pollution Bulletin, 55(Spec. Issue 1-6): pp. 74-90
In: Devlin, M.; Best, M.; Haynes, D. (Ed.) (2007). Implementation of the Water Framework Directive in European marine waters. Marine Pollution Bulletin, 55(Spec. Issue 1-6). Elsevier: Amsterdam. 297 pp., more
In: Marine Pollution Bulletin. Macmillan: London. ISSN 0025-326X, more
Peer reviewed article  

Also published as
  • Painting, S.J.; Devlin, M.; Malcolm, S.J.; Parker, E.R.; Mills, D.K.; Mills, C.; Tett, P.; Wither, A.W.; Burt, J.; Jones, R.; Winpenny, K. (2007). Assessing the impact of nutrient enrichment in estuaries: susceptibility to eutrophication. Mar. Pollut. Bull. 55(Spec. Issue 1-6): 74-90. dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.marpolbul.2006.08.020, more

Available in  Authors 

Keywords
    Estuaries; Eutrophication; Light; Light effects; Nutrients (mineral); Primary production; Trophic levels; Marine

Authors  Top 
  • Painting, S.J.
  • Devlin, M.
  • Malcolm, S.J.
  • Parker, E.R.
  • Mills, D.K.
  • Mills, C.
  • Tett, P.
  • Wither, A.W.
  • Burt, J.
  • Jones, R.
  • Winpenny, K.

Abstract
    The main aim of this study was to develop a generic tool for assessing risks and impacts of nutrient enrichment in estuaries. A simple model was developed to predict the magnitude of primary production by phytoplankton in different estuaries from nutrient input (total available nitrogen and/or phosphorus) and to determine likely trophic status. In the model, primary production is strongly influenced by water residence times and relative light regimes. The model indicates that estuaries with low and moderate light levels are the least likely to show a biological response to nutrient inputs. Estuaries with a good light regime are likely to be sensitive to nutrient enrichment, and to show similar responses, mediated only by site-specific geomorphological features. Nixon's scale was used to describe the relative trophic status of estuaries, and to set nutrient and chlorophyll thresholds for assessing trophic status. Estuaries identified as being eutrophic may not show any signs of eutrophication. Additional attributes need to be considered to assess negative impacts. Here, likely detriment to the oxygen regime was considered, but is most applicable to areas of restricted exchange. Factors which limit phytoplankton growth under high nutrient conditions (water residence times and/or light availability) may favour the growth of other primary producers, such as macrophytes, which may have a negative impact on other biological communities. The assessment tool was developed for estuaries in England and Wales, based on a simple 3-category typology determined by geomorphology and relative light levels. Nixon's scale needs to be validated for estuaries in England and Wales, once more data are available on light levels and primary production.

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