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Diatom succession and silicon removal from freshwater in estuarine mixing zones: From experiment to modelling
Roubeix, V.; Rousseau, V.; Lancelot, C. (2008). Diatom succession and silicon removal from freshwater in estuarine mixing zones: From experiment to modelling. Est., Coast. and Shelf Sci. 78(1): 14-26.
In: Estuarine, Coastal and Shelf Science. Academic Press: London; New York. ISSN 0272-7714; e-ISSN 1096-0015, more
Peer reviewed article  

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    Bacillariophyceae [WoRMS]
    Marine/Coastal; Brackish water
Author keywords
    diatoms; salinity gradients; ecological succession; silica; estuaries

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    Estuaries act as filters for land derived material reducing the river input to the coastal zone. Silicon (Si) removal from freshwater which is tightly linked to the growth of diatoms was studied in the estuarine mixing zone where the mixing of freshwater and seawater results in a salinity gradient. Three planktonic diatom species with different origin and salinity tolerance were grown in an artificial salinity gradient. Salinity stress and nutrient depletion led to a specific succession of the three diatoms along the salinity gradient. When available light was increased. diatoms reached higher biomass and the Si removal from water column was more efficient along the mixing. From this experiment, a conceptual model of Si transformations and removal from freshwater was build and applied to an idealized stratified estuary. Sensitivity analysis with varying initial conditions and parameter values pointed transit time of freshwater in the estuary, freshwater and seawater mixing rate and river turbidity as important interactive factors influencing Si removal from freshwater. Other factors like the total amount and the salinity tolerance of diatoms in the upstream river were shown to significantly affect riverine Si removal from the surface layer of an estuary. Finally it appears that Si removal from freshwater in estuarine mixing zones proceeds in two ways: a first rapid death and sedimentation of planktonic stenohaline diatoms imported from the river and second, the growth and subsequent settling of planktonic euryhaline diatoms of either freshwater or marine origin.

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