Modelling the phytoplankton dynamics in a nutrient-rich solar saltern pond: predicting the impact of restoration and climate change
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- Khemakhem, H., Elloumi, J., Ayadi, H. et al. Environ Sci Pollut Res (2013) 20: 9057. doi:10.1007/s11356-013-1936-y
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An ecological model for the solar saltern of Sfax (Tunisia) was established and validated by comparing simulation results to observed data relative to horizontal distributions of temperature, nutrients and phytoplankton biomass. Sensitivity analysis was performed in order to assess the influence of the main ecological model parameters. First applied at the saltern’s pond A1, the model was calibrated with field data measured over 4 years of study (from 2000 to 2003), which allowed an evaluation of parameters such as maximum growth rate of phytoplankton, optimal growth temperature and constant of half saturation for P/N assimilation by phytoplankton. Simulation results showed that the model allowed us to predict realistic phytoplankton variations of the study area, though we were unable to accurately reproduce the nutrient variation. The model was then applied to simulations of the impact of changes in phytoplankton biomass through scenarios such as hypothetic climate changes and saltern restoration.