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Title: Testing the Stochastic Dynamic Methodology (StDM) as a management tool in a shallow temperate estuary of south Europe (Mondego, Portugal)
Authors: Silva-Santos, Pedro 
Pardal, Miguel Ângelo 
Lopes, Ricardo Jorge 
Múrias, Tiago 
Cabral, João Alexandre 
Keywords: Stochastic Dynamic Methodology; Eutrophication; Estuarine ecosystems; Trophic interactions; Management tools
Issue Date: 2008
Citation: Ecological Modelling. 210:4 (2008) 377-402
Abstract: A long-term monitoring program has been carried out since the early 1990s in the Mondego estuary, on Portugal's west coast, which is presently under heavy human pressure. In this shallow warm-temperate estuary, a significant macroalgal proliferation has been observed, which is a clear sign of nutrient enrichment. As a result of competition with algae, the extension of the seagrass meadows (mainly Zostera noltii) has been reduced. The present paper examined the applicability of a holistic Stochastic Dynamic Methodology (StDM) in predicting the tendencies of trophic key-components (macrophytes, macroalgae, benthic macroinvertebrate and wading birds) as a response to the changes in estuarine environmental conditions. The StDM is a sequential modelling process developed in order to predict the ecological status of changed ecosystems, from which management strategies can be designed. The data used in the dynamic model construction included true gradients of environmental changes and was sampled from January 1993 to September 1995 and from December 1998 to December 2005. The dynamic model developed was preceded by a conventional multivariate statistical procedure performed to discriminate the significant relationships between the selected ecological components. The model validation was based on independent data collected from January 1996 to January 1997 and from February 1999 to April 2000 for all the state variables considered. Overall, the simulation results are encouraging since they seem to demonstrate the StDM reliability in capturing the trophic dynamics of the studied estuary, by predicting the behavioural pattern for the most part of the components selected, with a focus on the Zostera noltii meadows recovery after the implementation of important management measures.
Rights: openAccess
Appears in Collections:FCTUC Ciências da Vida - Artigos em Revistas Internacionais

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