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Recent environmental changes and filamentous algal mats in shallow bays on the Swedish West Coast – a result of climate change?

Artikel i vetenskaplig tidskrift
Författare Michele Cossellu
Kjell Nordberg
Publicerad i Journal of Sea Research
Volym 63
Nummer/häfte 3-4
Sidor 203-212
ISSN 1385-1101
Publiceringsår 2010
Publicerad vid Institutionen för geovetenskaper
Sidor 203-212
Språk en
Länkar dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.seares.2010.01...
Ämneskategorier Geovetenskap och miljövetenskap

Sammanfattning

Over the last thirty years, many shallow estuarine bays, located in Scandinavian sheltered coastal environments, have been subject to the increased dominance of opportunistic species of filamentous green algae, oxygen deficiency in bottom waters and the alteration of flora and fauna. Human-induced eutrophication has been held responsible for these recent changes, but from this study the importance of climatic factors emerges. This research is based on the analysis of sediment cores from 8 shallow areas (d < 50 cm) along the Bohuslän archipelago, Swedish west coast, and focuses on their recent (< 100 years) sedimentary evolution. Evidence of hydrodynamic change was observed in the sediments, where modern fining-upward sequences contrast with the expected coarsening upward model due to ongoing land uplift. Heavy metal concentrations from modern pollution and 14C dating of mollusk shells and eelgrass roots provided the age control, and allowed to place these changes within the last three decades. Data were compared with historical meteorological records (seasonal warming, modification of dominant winds and upwelling and reduction of sea-ice), and a clear connection emerged between the environmental changes and variations in the North Atlantic Ocean weather pattern. The increase of winter temperature and reduction of reworking winter sea-ice in these sheltered bays increased the storing of nutrients in the sediments and the turnover of organic matter, favoring the early growth stage of opportunistic algae in the most sheltered areas of the archipelago. This, together with human-induced modifications (overfishing and eutrophication), increased the possibility of opportunistic explosions, which in turn determined a reduced water exchange, the increased deposition of fine sediments and organic matter and evolving hypoxic conditions.

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