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The effect of optical properties on Secchi depth and implications for eutrophication management
Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Department of Ecology, Environment and Plant Sciences.
Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Department of Ecology, Environment and Plant Sciences.
Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Department of Ecology, Environment and Plant Sciences.
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(English)Manuscript (preprint) (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Successful management of coastal environments requires reliable monitoring methods and indicators. Secchi depth and chlorophyll-a concentration (Chl-a) are used as indicators for the assessment of eutrophication, both within the European Commission’s Water Framework and Marine Strategy Directives and the Helsinki commission. Chl-a is a used as a proxy for phytoplankton biomass and Secchi depth is used as a measure of changes in Chl-a. However, Secchi depth is more closely correlated with the light climate, affecting for example benthic vegetation. The public strongly link Secchi depth to the perceived water quality. Due to its simple measurement method Secchi depth is included in many monitoring programmes, often with the longest available time-series. In optically complex waters, Secchi depth is influenced by other factors than Chl-a, such as coloured dissolved organic matter (CDOM) and suspended particulate matter (SPM). In this study we evaluate how much Chl-a, CDOM and inorganic SPM each contribute to the variations in Secchi depth. We collected in situ data from different Swedish coastal gradients in three regions, Bothnian Sea, Baltic proper and Skagerrak during 2010-2014. Two linear multiple regression models for each region, with Chl-a, CDOM and inorganic SPM as predictors, explained the Secchi depth well (R2adj=0.54/0.8 for the Bothnian Sea, R2adj=0.81/0.81 for the Baltic proper and R2adj=0.53/0.64 for the Skagerrak). The slope for inorganic SPM was not significant in all models, but still included in the models, as significant correlations were found, both with Secchi depth and between parameters. The follow-up analysis of the multiple regressions by commonality analyses showed differences between the regions in the unique and common effects of the variables to the variance of the R2adj for Secchi depth. In the Bothnian Sea the unique effects for Chl-a were relatively low, 6% and 20%. The highest unique effect were from CDOM (~46% in summer and 20% in spring), whereas inorganic SPM had no unique contribution in summer but in spring with ~6%. The common effects from CDOM and inorganic SPM were large (71% in spring and 42% in summer). In the Baltic proper the optical variables had a different effect on the Secchi depth, with the largest part from the common effects of all three parameters, explaining up to 42-45% of the variations. The largest unique effects were from inorganic SPM (24%) or from Chl-a (15%). The models in the Skagerrak showed another pattern with CDOM having a very high unique effect, 71% for one model and the almost equally to Chl-a in the other 26% (Chl-a 28%). The common effects between CDOM and Chl-a were also pronounced, ~21% and the inorganic SPM had the lowest effect. The models were used for applying the levels for the reference value and the threshold for good/moderate status for Chl-a within the EU directives. The results showed, that in optically complex waters, Secchi depth is not a sufficient indicator for eutrophication, or as a response to Chl-a changes. Differences in natural processes have an indirect effect on the optical components determining the Secchi depth. For example land and river run-off, resuspension, bottom substrate, hydrography and salinity may explain the differences seen between the regions. The natural coastal gradients in Secchi depth will influence the determination of reference conditions for other eutrophication indicators, such as the depth distribution of macro algae. Hence, setting targets for Secchi depth based on reducing Chl-a might in some cases have no or only limited effect.

Keyword [en]
Secchi depth, monitoring, CDOM, SPM, Chl-a, WFD, MSFD, HELCOM
National Category
Biological Sciences
Research subject
Marine Ecology
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-119714OAI: oai:DiVA.org:su-119714DiVA: diva2:847983
Funder
Baltic Ecosystem Adaptive Management (BEAM)Ecosystem dynamics in the Baltic Sea in a changing climate perspective - ECOCHANGESwedish National Space BoardSwedish Environmental Protection Agency
Available from: 2015-08-22 Created: 2015-08-22 Last updated: 2016-01-29Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. Bio-optics, satellite remote sensing and Baltic Sea ecosystems: Applications for monitoring and management
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Bio-optics, satellite remote sensing and Baltic Sea ecosystems: Applications for monitoring and management
2015 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Earth observation satellites cover large areas with frequent temporal repetition and provide us with new insight into ocean and coastal processes. Ocean colour measurements from satellite remote sensing are linked to the bio-optics, which refers to the light interactions with living organisms and dissolved and suspended constituents in the aquatic environment. Human pressures have changed the aquatic ecosystems, by, for example, the increased input of nutrient and organic matter leading to eutrophication. This thesis aims to study and develop the link between bio-optical data and the remote sensing method to the monitoring and management of the Baltic Sea. The results are applied to the European Union’s Water Directives, and the Baltic Sea Action Plan from the Helsinki commission. In paper I indicators for eutrophication, chlorophyll-a concentration and Secchi depth were evaluated as a link to remote sensing observations. Chlorophyll-a measurements from an operational satellite service (paper I) were compared to conventional ship-based monitoring in paper II and showed high correlations to the in situ data. The results in paper I, II and IV show that the use of remote sensing can improve both the spatial and temporal monitoring of water quality. The number of observations increased when also using satellite data, thus facilitating the assessment of the ecological and environmental status within the European Union’s water directives. The spatial patterns make it possible to study the changes of e.g. algae blooms and terrestrial input on larger scales. Furthermore, the water quality products from satellites can offer a more holistic and easily accessible view of the information to decision makers and end-users. In paper III variable relationships between in situ bio-optical parameters, such as coloured dissolved organic matter (CDOM), dissolved organic carbon, salinity and Secchi depth, were found in different parts of the Baltic Sea. In paper IV an in situ empirical model to retrieve suspended particulate matter (SPM) from turbidity was developed and applied to remote sensing data. The use of Secchi depth as an indicator for eutrophication linked to the concentrations of chlorophyll-a and SPM and CDOM absorption was investigated in paper V. The variations in Secchi depth were affected differently by the mentioned parameters in the different regions. Therefore, one must also consider those when evaluating changes in Secchi depth and for setting target levels for water bodies. This thesis shows good examples on the benefits of incorporating bio-optical and remote sensing data to a higher extent within monitoring and management of the Baltic Sea.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Stockholm: Department of Ecology, Environment and Plant Sciences, Stockholm University, 2015. 59 p.
Keyword
Bio-optics, Remote sensing, MERIS, Eutrophication, Baltic Sea, Monitoring, Management, WFD, MSFD, HELCOM, Chlorophyll-a, Secchi depth, Coloured Dissolved Organic Matter, Suspended Particulate Matter
National Category
Ecology
Research subject
Marine Ecology
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:su:diva-119578 (URN)978-91-7649-219-2 (ISBN)
Public defence
2015-10-02, William-Olssonsalen, Geovetenskapens hus, Svante Arrhenius väg 14, Stockholm, 13:00 (English)
Opponent
Supervisors
Funder
Swedish National Space Board, Dnr. 165/11EU, European Research Council, SPICOSA 36992Nordic Council of Ministers, 80106 & 42041EU, FP7, Seventh Framework Programme, WaterS 251527Baltic Ecosystem Adaptive Management (BEAM), 4315403Ecosystem dynamics in the Baltic Sea in a changing climate perspective - ECOCHANGE, 4315403Swedish Environmental Protection Agency, WATERS
Note

At the time of the doctoral defense, the following papers were unpublished and had a status as follows: Paper 4: Manuscript. Paper 5: Manuscript.

Available from: 2015-09-10 Created: 2015-08-17 Last updated: 2017-04-11Bibliographically approved

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