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A comparative-study of the ecosystem dynamics of four fjords

Ross, A.H. and Gurney, W.S.C. and Heath, M.R. (1994) A comparative-study of the ecosystem dynamics of four fjords. Limnology and Oceanography, 39 (2). pp. 318-343. ISSN 0024-3590

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Abstract

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.