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Simulating community effects of sea floor shading by plankton blooms over the West Florida Shelf
Okey, T.A.; Vargo, G.A.; Mackinson, S.; Vasconcellos, M.; Mahmoudi, B.; Meyer, C.A. (2004). Simulating community effects of sea floor shading by plankton blooms over the West Florida Shelf. Ecol. Model. 172(2-4): 339-359
In: Ecological Modelling. Elsevier: Amsterdam; Lausanne; New York; Oxford; Shannon; Tokyo. ISSN 0304-3800, more
Peer reviewed article  

Available in  Authors 

    Eutrophication; Habitat; Irradiance; Phytobenthos; Primary production; Shading; Marine

Authors  Top 
  • Okey, T.A.
  • Vargo, G.A.
  • Mackinson, S.
  • Vasconcellos, M.
  • Mahmoudi, B.
  • Meyer, C.A.

    Phytoplankton blooms are increasingly conspicuous along the world’s coastlines, and the toxic effects of these blooms havebecome a major concern. Nutrient enrichment often causes phytoplankton blooms, which decrease water transparency, but littleis known about the effects of such light regime changes on whole communities of the continental shelf. A series of simulationsdesigned to evaluate the potential effects of shading by phytoplankton blooms on community organization were conducted usinga balanced trophic model of the West Florida Shelf ecosystem and the Ecopath with Ecosim modeling approach. Many functionalgroups in the system were predicted to decline as benthic primary production was inhibited through shading by phytoplankton,especially when associated biogenic habitatwas lost. Groups that obtain most of their energy from planktonic pathways increasedwhen shading impact and associated structural habitat degradation were complemented by enhanced phytoplankton production.Groups predicted to decline as the result of shading by plankton blooms include seabirds, manatees, and a variety of demersaland benthic fishes and invertebrates. Some counterintuitive predictions of declines (mackerel, seabirds, and surface pelagics)resulted because these groups are somewhat dependent on benthic primary production. The overall effect of the simulatedbloom-associated shading of benthic primary producers resembled a trophic cascade where the number of full cycles of biomassgains and losses was approximately equal to the number of trophic levels in the system (4.7).

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