Estuarine Light Attenuation Modelling Towards Improved Management of Coastal Fisheries



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The ecosystem function of local fisheries holds great societal importance in the coastal zone of Cartagena, Colombia, where coastal communities depend on artisanal fishing for their livelihood and health. These fishing resources have declined sharply in recent decades partly due to issues of coastal water pollution. Mitigation strategies to reduce pollution can be better evaluated with the support of numerical hydrodynamic models. To model the hydrodynamics and water quality in Cartagena Bay, significant consideration must be dedicated to the process of light attenuation, given its importance to the bay’s characteristics of strong vertical stratification, turbid surface water plumes, algal blooms and hypoxia. This study uses measurements of total suspended solids (TSS), turbidity, chlorophyll-a (Chla) and Secchi depth monitored in the bay monthly over a 2-year period to calculate and compare the short-wave light extinction coefficient (Kd) according to nine different equations. The MOHID-Water model was used to simulate the bay’s hydrodynamics and to compare the effect of three different Kd values on the model’s ability to reproduce temperature profiles observed in the field. Simulations using Kd values calculated by equations that included TSS as a variable produced better results than those of an equation that included Chla as a variable. Further research will focus on evaluating other Kd calculation methods and comparing these results with simulations of different seasons. This study contributes valuable knowledge for eutrophication modelling which would be beneficial to coastal zone management in Cartagena Bay. © 2019, Springer Nature Switzerland AG.


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