Physical Limitation of Phytoplankton Dynamics in Coastal Waters

Lixia Niu*, P. H.A.J.M. Van Gelder, J. K. Vrijling

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


Research on phytoplankton dynamics in coastal waters has frequently been proposed, motivated by environmental factors. The present study aims to develop a vertical phytoplankton model to investigate the phytoplankton variability in a case of the Jiangsu coastal waters, driven by physical limitation. The quality of the parameter estimation largely determines the reliability of the model output. Skill assessment results reveal that the vertical phytoplankton model is able to reproduce reliable predictions of phytoplankton biomass in this case. Significant correlations are established between phytoplankton biomass and chlorophyll a. The phytoplankton biomass is significantly correlated with the variables of temperature, light attenuation coefficient, and euphotic depth. A decrease of phytoplankton biomass corresponds to deeper water, excluding the case of Yangkou station. Particular attention has been paid to the depth-averaged phytoplankton biomass. In the presence of uncertainty, the bootstrap method is used to derive a 95% confidence interval of the estimate, as well as mean value, standard deviation, and skewness. The findings of this study contribute to understanding of the coastal ecosystem and coastal management.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)88-95
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Coastal Research: an international forum for the Littoral Sciences
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2017


  • Coastal ecosystem
  • Phytoplankton variability


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