The Delaware Bay Estuary has a long anthropogenic history that has resulted in high nutrient loadings, yet the observed productivity is relatively moderate due to light limitations.   Since the estuary is so turbid, suspended matter in the water column causes light attenuation that ultimately restricts net phytoplankton growth.

Figure from McSweeney et al. (2017). Along channel distributions of sediment, chlorophyll, nitrate, and dissolved oxygen in the Delaware Estuary from June 2010.

The purpose of this project is two-fold: to understand how sediment dynamics impact light-limited productivity and to determine ecosystem and sediment parameters for a Regional Ocean Modeling System (ROMS) model to quantitatively examine these processes.

We have observations of salinity, temperature, salinity, optical backscatter (OBS), chlorophyll concentrations, oxygen, nitrogen, and Photosynthetically Active Radiation (PAR) from along-estuary cruises in 2010 and 2011.  From these, we can study how the sediment and chlorophyll distributions may vary seasonally.

McSweeney, J. M., R. J. Chant, J. L.Wilkin, and C. K. Sommerfield, Suspended-sediment Impacts on Light-limited Production in Delaware Estuary, Estuaries and Coasts (2017) 40: 977, doi:10.1007/s12237-016-0200-3

%d bloggers like this: