Aquatic Sciences

, Volume 74, Issue 2, pp 315–327 | Cite as

Localized algal blooms induced by river inflows in a canyon type reservoir

  • Javier VidalEmail author
  • Rafael Marcé
  • Teresa Serra
  • Jordi Colomer
  • Francisco Rueda
  • Xavier Casamitjana
Research Article


The local response of the phytoplankton community to river inflow processes was investigated with modeling and field analyses in a long and narrow, stratified reservoir in mid-summer. The river water had high concentrations of phosphorus and nitrogen (ammonium and nitrate) and temperature had large variations at diurnal scales. As a consequence of the large variation in river temperature, the level of neutral buoyancy (the depth where the river water spreads laterally in the reservoir) oscillated between the surface (overflows) during the day, and the depth of the metalimnion (interflows) during the night. The reservoir remained strongly stratified, which favoured the presence of cyanobacteria. It is shown that under these conditions, nutrient-rich river water injected during overflows into the surface layers promoted the occurrence of localized algal blooms in the zones where the overflow mixed with the quiescent water of the reservoir. A series of hydrodynamic simulations of the reservoir were conducted both with synthetic and realistic forcing to assess the importance of river temperatures and wind-driven hydrodynamics for algal blooms. The simulations confirmed that the river inflow was the main forcing mechanism generating the localized bloom.


Overflow Lacustrine Mixing Cyanobacteria Bloom Models 



Thanks to the Centre for Water Research (CWR, University of Western Australia) and its director, Jörg Imberger, for making the Estuary and Lake Computer Model (ELCOM) available for use in this project. This work has been financially supported in part by both MICINN and the Fulbright Program through Grant #2008-0909.


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Copyright information

© Springer Basel AG 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Javier Vidal
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
    Email author
  • Rafael Marcé
    • 4
  • Teresa Serra
    • 1
  • Jordi Colomer
    • 1
  • Francisco Rueda
    • 3
  • Xavier Casamitjana
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of PhysicsUniversitat de GironaGironaSpain
  2. 2.Marine Science Institute and Department of Ecology, Evolution, and Marine BiologyUniversity of CaliforniaSanta BarbaraUSA
  3. 3.Instituto del AguaUniversidad de GranadaGranadaSpain
  4. 4.Catalan Institute for Water Research (ICRA)Scientific and Technological Park of the University of GironaGironaSpain

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