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Fate of nutrients in a subtropical reservoir according to hydrodynamic processes and its effects on phytoplankton dynamics

  • Manmade dams have been constructed from centuries for multiple purposes, and in the past decades they have been constructed in a fast pace, with the hotspot in tropical and subtropical regions. However, studies that explore hydrodynamics in these areas are scarce and biased to the rich literature available for temperate regions. Lakes and reservoirs have the same controlling mechanisms for physical processes and primary production, hence, analyses that were initially conceptualized for lakes are frequently applied for reservoirs. Nevertheless, longitudinal gradients in reservoirs challenges the application of these approaches. Degradation of water quality in reservoirs is a major concern, and it is expected to be aggravated with climate change. Therefore, studies that explore mechanisms controlling water quality are essential for the maintenance of these systems, especially in tropical and subtropical regions. The aim of this thesis is to comprehend the role of hydrodynamic processes in the fate of nutrients in reservoirs and its implications on water quality, in a subtropical region. With focus on the relevance of different density current patterns. For that, analyses combining field measurements and numerical simulations were performed in a medium to small size subtropical drinking water reservoir for a complete seasonal cycle. Measurements were conducted combining several approaches: traditional sampling, sensors in high temporal and spatial resolution, and remote sensing. Besides, hydrodynamic models were set up and calibrated to reproduce observations, and to simulate scenarios that assisted on the analysis. Results showed that different flow paths of density currents did not influence on phytoplankton dynamics. At the regions where the main nutrient supply was the river inflow (upstream), the density currents did not vary, the euphotic zone usually covered the entire depth, and vertical mixing was observed on a daily basis, turning the flow path of the density currents irrelevant. At downstream regions, the remobilization of nutrients in the sediment was the main source for primary production. Even though density currents had a seasonal pattern in the downstream region, thermal stratification conditions were the driver for variations in chlorophyll-a concentrations, with peaks after vertical mixing. This mechanism had in its favor the frequent anoxic conditions in the hypolimnion that enhanced the dissolution of reactive phosphorus from the sediment. Anoxic conditions were easily reached because the sediment in the downstream area was rich in organic matter. Phytoplankton produced in the upstream area was transported by the density currents, and for this reason, large concentrations of chl-a was observed below the euphotic zone. Further, the extensive measurements of temperature, and flow velocities, together with the hydrodynamic models, provided insights about the hydrodynamics of reservoirs. For instance, that the relevant processes occurred along the longitudinal, and mixing conditions varied along it. The relevance of inflow conditions regarding the presence of structures such as forebays and pre-dams, and the degree of stream shading in the catchment was assessed. And turbulence and internal waves had different features than the documented for high latitudes. Those findings can assist on the management of reservoirs, based on the comprehension of the physical processes.

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Author:Mayra Ishikawa
Referee:Tobias Bleninger
Advisor:Andreas Lorke
Document Type:Doctoral Thesis
Date of completion:2022/11/22
Date of publication:2022/11/30
Publishing institution:Universität Koblenz-Landau, Campus Landau, Universitätsbibliothek
Granting institution:Universität Koblenz-Landau, Campus Landau, Fachbereich 7
Date of final exam:2022/09/06
Release Date:2022/11/30
Number of pages:137 Seiten
Kumulative Dissertation
Licence (German):License LogoEs gilt das deutsche Urheberrecht: § 53 UrhG