The European coastal zone: characterization and first assessment of ecosystem metabolism
Gazeau, F.; Smith, S.V.; Gentili, B.; Frankignoulle, M.; Gattuso, J.P. (2004). The European coastal zone: characterization and first assessment of ecosystem metabolism. Est., Coast. and Shelf Sci. 60(4): 673-694. dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ecss.2004.03.007
In: Estuarine, Coastal and Shelf Science. Academic Press: London; New York. ISSN 0272-7714; e-ISSN 1096-0015
The geomorphic, oceanographic, terrestrial and anthropogenic attributes of the European coastal zone are described and published data on ecosystem function (primary production and respiration) are reviewed. Four regions are considered: the Baltic Sea, Mediterranean Sea, Black Sea and the European Atlantic coast including the North Sea. The metabolic database (194 papers) suffers from a non-homogeneous geographical coverage with no usable data for the Black Sea which was therefore excluded from this part of our study. Pelagic gross primary production in European open shelves is, by far, the most documented parameter with an estimated mean of 41 mmol C m-2 d-1, the lowest value is reported in the Mediterranean Sea (21 mmol C m-2 d-1) and the highest one in the Atlantic/North Sea area (51 mmol C m-2 d-1). Microphytobenthic primary production, mostly measured in shallow areas, is extrapolated to the entire 0–200 m depth range. Its contribution to total primary production is low in all regions (mean: 1.5 mmol C m-2 d-1). Although macrophyte beds are very productive, a regional production estimate is not provided in this study because their geographical distribution along the European coastline remains unknown. Measurements of pelagic community respiration are clearly too sparse, especially below the euphotic zone, to yield an accurate picture of the fate of organic matter produced in the water column. With a mean value of 17 mmol C m-2 d-1, benthic community respiration consumes approximately 40% of the pelagic organic matter production. Estuaries generally exhibit high metabolic rates and a large range of variation in all parameters, except microphytobenthic primary production. Finally, the problem of eutrophication in Europe is discussed and the metabolic data obtained in the framework of the Land–Ocean Interactions in the Coastal Zone (LOICZ) project are compared with available direct measurements of net ecosystem production.
EUROTROPH project dataset: Nutrients Cycling and the Trophic Status of Coastal Ecosystems