Science Serving Maryland's Coasts

Eric Keisman, University of Massachusetts, Amherst

Class Year: 
1991

Project Title: 

Carbon Metabolism of a Coastal Marine Ecosystem in Relation to Seasonal Cycles of Nitrogen and Oxygen: Preliminary Experiments with a Simulation Model

Abstract: 

I have constructed a simple generic model of a marine ecosystem. The model is designed, by the simulation of the phytoplankton population, dissolved inorganic nitrogen, total organic carbon and oxygen, and the interactions and flows between them in the water column and sediments, to characterize community production, respiration and nitrogen cycling in a generic coastal marine ecosystem. In constructing the model, conceptual considerations and quantitative relationships were compiled from the relevant literature or were derived from empirical observations. As a test of its merits, the model has been calibrated so as to simulate the behavior of the mesohaline reach of the Chesapeake Bay. This was done using input data for this region of the Bay. Preliminary results of the calibration attempt indicate that the model is capable of replicating seasonal patterns from the Chesapeake. Perturbation experiments were carried out, and the results of these indicate that the model will be useful in assisting our understanding of how the various components of the ecosystem work together to determine overall behavior and individual phenomena.