Environmental Earth Sciences

, Volume 74, Issue 7, pp 5625–5638 | Cite as

Influence of submarine groundwater discharge on seawater properties in Rovanjska-Modrič karst region (Croatia)

  • Maša SurićEmail author
  • Robert Lončarić
  • Nenad Buzjak
  • Stewart T. Schultz
  • Jadranka Šangulin
  • Krešimir Maldini
  • Damir Tomas
Original Article


Coastal karst aquifers are dynamic hydrogeological systems with substantial hydrological, geomorphological and ecological impacts on the marine and coastal karst ecosystems, mostly induced by the submarine groundwater discharge (SGD). This paper presents complex hydrogeological settings of the Rovanjska-Modrič coastal karst region on the eastern Adriatic coast characterized by: (1) high temporal and spatial variations in seawater properties; (2) significantly reshaped coastal bottom morphology, and (3) plethora of associated biocenoses from fresh water, brackish, marine and cave assemblages. With the aim of resolving spatiotemporal interconnections of SGD and marine environment changes, we conducted field prospection and seasonal measurements of different water properties on- and off-shore. Obtained results pointed to: (1) the composite recharge system consisting of numerous sinking rivers in the distant hinterland (with different climate settings) and local precipitation input; (2) specific discharge settings highly governed by a complicated karst conduits network, the hydrological situation in the hinterland and local meteorological conditions, i.e. one system that permanently feeds coastal and probably submarine springs, while the other operates periodically; (3) disturbed winter isothermy and three-layered summer stratification of the seawater column, and (4) slightly changed trophic settings. All of that is the consequence of extreme heterogeneity of the coastal karst aquifer, characteristic for the eastern Adriatic coast.


Submarine groundwater discharge Coastal karst Submarine springs Intermittent groundwater intertidal outlets Eastern Adriatic coast Croatia 



We would like to thank Ante Šiljeg for the help with map design and Marko Matković for field assistance and valuable local information. This research was funded by University of Zagreb (Support No. and Ministry of Science, Education and Sport of Republic of Croatia (Project No. 119-0000000-1299).


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Maša Surić
    • 1
    Email author
  • Robert Lončarić
    • 1
  • Nenad Buzjak
    • 2
  • Stewart T. Schultz
    • 3
  • Jadranka Šangulin
    • 4
  • Krešimir Maldini
    • 5
  • Damir Tomas
    • 5
  1. 1.Department of Geography, Centre for Karst and Coastal ResearchesUniversity of ZadarZadarCroatia
  2. 2.Department of Geography, Faculty of ScienceUniversity of ZagrebZagrebCroatia
  3. 3.Department of Ecology, Agronomy and Aquaculture, Centre for Interdisciplinary Marine and Maritime ResearchUniversity of ZadarZadarCroatia
  4. 4.Department of Health EcologyInstitute of Public HealthZadarCroatia
  5. 5.Hrvatske Vode, Central Water Management LaboratoryZagrebCroatia

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