Articles | Volume 31, issue 1
Special issue:
Research article
13 Mar 2024
Research article |  | 13 Mar 2024

Phytoplankton retention mechanisms in estuaries: a case study of the Elbe estuary

Laurin Steidle and Ross Vennell

Related subject area

Subject: Scaling, multifractals, turbulence, complex systems, self-organized criticality | Topic: Climate, atmosphere, ocean, hydrology, cryosphere, biosphere | Techniques: Simulation
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Fractional relaxation noises, motions and the fractional energy balance equation
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Comparing estimation techniques for temporal scaling in palaeoclimate time series
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Cited articles

Admiraal, W.: Salinity tolerance of benthic estuarine diatoms as tested with a rapid polarographic measurement of photosynthesis, Mar. Biol., 39, 11–18,, 1976. a
Anderson, D. and Stolzenbach, K.: Selective retention of two dinoflagellates in a well-mixed estuarine embayment: the importance of diel vertical migration and surface avoidance, Mar. Ecol. Prog. Ser., 25, 39–50,, 1985. a
Arevalo, E., Cabral, H. N., Villeneuve, B., Possémé, C., and Lepage, M.: Fish larvae dynamics in temperate estuaries: A review on processes, patterns and factors that determine recruitment, Fish Fish., 24, 466–487,, 2023. a
Brown, A. M., Bass, A. M., and Pickard, A. E.: Anthropogenic-estuarine interactions cause disproportionate greenhouse gas production: A review of the evidence base, Mar. Pollut. Bull., 174, 113240,, 2022. a
Carlson, D. J., Townsend, D. W., Hilyard, A. L., and Eaton, J. F.: Effect of an intertidal mudflat on plankton of the overlying water column, Can. J. Fish. Aquat. Sci., 41, 1523–1528,, 1984. a
Short summary
Phytoplankton are key in estuaries, as they form the ecosystem's base. Despite being washed out by river flow and facing a large range of different salinities, they persist. Our Lagrangian simulation of the Elbe estuary shows that buoyancy helps them to be retained. Riverbanks and tidal flats offer refuges from strong currents. Our findings emphasize the need for careful ecosystem management in estuaries.
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