Impact of periodic nutrient input rate on trophic chain properties

Abstract : Marine ecosystems are characterized by a strong influence of hydrodynamics on biological processes. The associated models involve the coupling of physical to biological models and therefore require a large number of state variables. The consequent high complexity limits our capacity to perform a complete and detailed study and even prevents any complete mathematical study of these models. It is also difficult to disentangle among all the processes involved, which ones actually drive the system at any moment. Hydrodynamics, among other consequences, affect the way under which the nutrients are supplied to marine ecosystems. The variability of nutrient input rate in marine systems generally results from runs-off in coastal systems and from physical processes (wind forcing and hydrodynamics) in open ocean. This paper is devoted to the study of the effects of the nutrient input rate variability on the dynamics and the functioning of trophic chains. In this context, we aim to provide an understandable study, based on simplified system models. We consider a periodic nutrient input rate and analyze how this variability modifies some system properties: its dynamics, its functioning and its structure. The dynamics is obtained by numerical simulations and when possible, enlighten by already published mathematical results. The functioning is measured by the time averaged state variables during the simulation period, and their variability. The structure concerns the number of surviving populations, a proxy of specific biodiversity. We show how these properties can be affected and provide some conditions under which the modifications can occur. We also highlight that, even if the physical process is the main driving force in the global dynamics, the choice of the biological model is important to understand the biological response of the system to physical forcing.
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Jean-Christophe Poggiale, Yoan Eynaud, Melika Baklouti. Impact of periodic nutrient input rate on trophic chain properties. Ecological Complexity, Elsevier, 2013, 14, pp.56-63. ⟨10.1016/j.ecocom.2013.01.005⟩. ⟨hal-00949796⟩



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