A comparative-study of the ecosystem dynamics of four fjords

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In this paper we develop our previously published strategic simulation model of a sea-loch into a quantitatively testable form. This formulation includes the effects of phytoplankton self-shading, aggregation by zooplankton to areas of high phytoplankton density, and a representation of temperature-dependent energy allocation in zooplankton. We confront the model with datasets from four contrasting Scottish and Irish sea-lochs. After further extension to incorporate variations in the vertical distribution of phytoplankton, driven by vertical mixing and grazing pressure, the model provides a quantitatively acceptable fit to all four datasets. We illustrate the ''top-down'' nature of the control operating in these systems by formulating a three-state variable model, describing only the biotic components of the system. This simplified model produces the same quality of fit to the appropriate data as its progenitor.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)318-343
Number of pages25
JournalLimnology and Oceanography
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Mar 1994


  • enclosed water column
  • coastal waters
  • Killary Harbor
  • surface waters
  • phytoplankton
  • sea
  • hydrography
  • Atlantic
  • Ireland


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