Numerical simulations of eutrophication processes in İzmir Bay with a coupled three dimensional eco-hydrodynamic model
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A three dimensional time-dependent coupled ecosystem model is applied to İzmir Bay for the first time. Delft3D modelling suite’s FLOW and ECO modules are adapted and tuned for the region. A reference model with a time frame of three years is produced that represents the current physical and biogeochemical status of the bay. Model skill assessment methods are used as a measure of model performance and to address the shortcomings of it. The hydrodynamics model is able to produce physical features in terms of seasonality and spatial distribution within reasonable ranges, whereas the ecosystem model has certain discrepancies which can be reduced with improved quality of model inputs, such as open boundary conditions, and fresh water and nutrient fluxes. The reference model is used as a tool with predictive capacity to assess the ecosystem response of the bay to possible changes it may undergo in the future. Five nutrient enrichment/reduction scenarios are constructed to predict the reactions of the bay to changing external inputs of DIN and PO4. Results suggest that both physical and biogeochemical properties of the bay show strong horizontal gradients between outer and inner regions in which both natural and anthropogenic influences are effective. It is revealed that Outer bays are mostly occupied by waters originating from the oligotrophic Aegean Sea, while eutrophicated inner regions are mainly controlled by local influences such as increased fresh water inputs and excessive wastewater discharges. Results of the nutrient enrichment/reduction scenarios suggest that the N-limited Inner and Middle bays and the P-limited Outer bays, give contrasting reactions to changes in inputs of DIN and PO4 such that the former is more sensitive to DIN input whereas the latter is more sensitive to PO4 input. Due to the existence of these two contrasting environments in the bay, availability of one nutrient is dependent on the availability of the other, therefore treatment of both should be considered in parallel. Among the scenarios tested in this study, the best possible option to reduce eutrophication in İzmir Bay is to prevent the increase of PO4 input and to reduce the DIN input simultaneously. These outcomes are aimed to provide a scientific insight for coastal policy makers and environmental managers on how changes in anthropogenic influences can impact the marine ecosystem of the bay.