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Title: A Stochastic Dynamic Methodology (SDM) to the modelling of trophic interactions, with a focus on estuarine eutrophication scenarios
Authors: Silva-Santos, Pedro 
Pardal, Miguel Ângelo 
Lopes, Ricardo Jorge 
Múrias, Tiago 
Cabral, João Alexandre 
Keywords: Stochastic dynamic modelling; Ecological integrity; Eutrophication; Mondego estuary; Trophic interactions
Issue Date: 2006
Citation: Ecological Indicators. 6:2 (2006) 394-408
Abstract: In the face of global change, declines in environmental quality are of increasing concern, especially in shallow coastal areas, densely populated and commonly affected by nutrient enrichment. The warm temperate Mondego estuary (Western Portugal), in common with many other shallow estuarine areas, is exhibiting increased macroalgal growth due to nutrient enrichment. The increase of macroalgal biomass and possible shift of other primary producers resulting from eutrophication, may have profound effects on estuarine trophic chain. The present paper examined the performance of a holistic Stochastic Dynamic Methodology (SDM) in predicting the tendencies of three representative trophic levels as a response to the increase of nutrient concentrations. Therefore, the proposed methodology has been developed by focusing on the interactions between conceptually isolated key-components, such as primary producers (macroalgae and seagrass), some relevant benthic macroinvertebrates, wading birds and changes in local physicochemical conditions. The dynamic model developed was preceded by a conventional multivariate statistical procedure (stepwise multiple regression analysis) performed to discriminate the significant relationships between prevailing biological and environmental variables. Since this statistical analysis is static, the dataset recorded from the field included true gradients of habitat changes. The data used in the model construction was sampled between January 1993 and September 1995 in three areas of the estuary mudflats for benthic macroinvertebrates, macroalgae, environmental and physicochemical factors and from October 1993 to October 1994 for wading birds. The model validation was based on independent data collected in two different periods, from January 1996 to January 1997 and from February 1999 to April 2000 for all the variables selected. Overall, the simulation results are encouraging since they seem to demonstrate the model reliability in capturing the trophic dynamics of the studied estuary by predicting the behavioural pattern for the most part of the components selected under a very complex and variable environmental scenario.
DOI: 10.1016/j.ecolind.2005.05.001
Rights: openAccess
Appears in Collections:FCTUC Ciências da Vida - Artigos em Revistas Internacionais

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