Modeling Primary Production in the Lower Hudson River Estuary

Robin Landeck Miller and John P. St. John abstract Mathematical models are useful tools for quantifying primary production. The evolution of mathematical modeling of eutrophication toward the understanding and management of nutrients and primary production includes successively more complex and sophisticated mathematical formulations which account for the interactions between light, nutrients, and phytoplankton. Application of modern eutrophication models to the management of the Hudson River Estuary requires linkage among the New York/New Jersey (NY/NJ) HarborEstuary, the NewYorkBight, and Long Island Sound. The development and application of the System-Wide Eutrophication Model (SWEM) is an example of howprimary production in the Hudson River Estuary can be studied from both a cause and effect and a systemwide perspective. SWEM results show that primary productivity in the Lower Hudson River Estuary and contiguous waterways, with the exception ofwestern Long Island Sound and portions of Raritan Bay, is controlled by the availability of light and residence time rather than nutrients. SWEM results also show that both nitrogen and carbon contribute to dissolved oxygen deficit but the relative importance of each is quite dependent upon specific location and the interrelationship of a number of physical, chemical, and biological variables. It is due to these complexities that mathematical modelingbecomes an effective technique in understanding the process of primary production in the Lower Hudson.

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