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How physiological and physical processes contribute to the phenology of cyanobacterial blooms in large shallow lakes: A new Euler-Lagrangian coupled model

Feng, Tao, Wang, Chao, Wang, Peifang, Qian, Jin, Wang, Xun
Water research 2018 v.140 pp. 34-43
algal blooms, biomass, correlation, data collection, environmental impact, freshwater lakes, mixing, models, moderate resolution imaging spectroradiometer, monitoring, multivariate analysis, phenology, prediction, principal component analysis, turbulent flow, China
Cyanobacterial blooms have emerged as one of the most severe ecological problems affecting large and shallow freshwater lakes. To improve our understanding of the factors that influence, and could be used to predict, surface blooms, this study developed a novel Euler-Lagrangian coupled approach combining the Eulerian model with agent-based modelling (ABM). The approach was subsequently verified based on monitoring datasets and MODIS data in a large shallow lake (Lake Taihu, China). The Eulerian model solves the Eulerian variables and physiological parameters, whereas ABM generates the complete life cycle and transport processes of cyanobacterial colonies. This model ensemble performed well in fitting historical data and predicting the dynamics of cyanobacterial biomass, bloom distribution, and area. Based on the calculated physical and physiological characteristics of surface blooms, principal component analysis (PCA) captured the major processes influencing surface bloom formation at different stages (two bloom clusters). Early bloom outbreaks were influenced by physical processes (horizontal transport and vertical turbulence-induced mixing), whereas buoyancy-controlling strategies were essential for mature bloom outbreaks. Canonical correlation analysis (CCA) revealed the combined actions of multiple environment variables on different bloom clusters. The effects of buoyancy-controlling strategies (ISP), vertical turbulence-induced mixing velocity of colony (VMT) and horizontal drift velocity of colony (HDT) were quantitatively compared using scenario simulations in the coupled model. VMT accounted for 52.9% of bloom formations and maintained blooms over long periods, thus demonstrating the importance of wind-induced turbulence in shallow lakes. In comparison, HDT and buoyancy controlling strategies influenced blooms at different stages. In conclusion, the approach developed here presents a promising tool for understanding the processes of onshore/offshore algal blooms formation and subsequent predicting.