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Large scale impacts of bottom trawling on shelf primary productivity

TitleLarge scale impacts of bottom trawling on shelf primary productivity
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2007
AuthorsDounas, C, Davies I, Triantafyllou G, Koulouri P, Petihakis G, Arvanitidis C, Sourlatzis G, Eleftheriou A
JournalContinental Shelf Research
Keywordsbottom trawling, ecosystem disturbance, modelling, nutrient recycling, nutrient releases, primary production, resuspension

Disturbance of the seabed resulting from bottom trawling affects ecosystem processes, such as the rate and magnitude of nutrient regeneration. The potential responses of the plankton community arising from such effects can be modelled, provided that reliable data on the effects on nutrient fluxes are available. In a north Cretan outer continental shelf and upper slope fishing ground (Heraklion Bay, Crete, Eastern Mediterranean) we applied a new field instrument which can simulate the passage of trawl groundropes across the sea floor and made direct seasonal measurements of the rate of dissolved and particulate nutrient releases resulting from seabed disturbance. These observational data were then integrated in a 3D ecosystem model. Results revealed that bottom trawling may trigger off considerable productivity pulses, in addition to pulses from the natural seasonal cycle.

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