, Volume 611, Issue 1, pp 115–132 | Cite as

Biogeochemical modelling of Ria Formosa (South Portugal)

  • P. Duarte
  • B. Azevedo
  • M. Guerreiro
  • C. Ribeiro
  • R. Bandeira
  • A. Pereira
  • M. Falcão
  • D. Serpa
  • J. Reia


Ria Formosa is a large (c.a. 100 km2) mesotidal lagoon system with large intertidal areas and several conflicting uses, such as fisheries, aquaculture, tourism and nature conservation. Its watersheds cover an area of approximately 864 km2, with a perimeter of 166 km and a maximum altitude of 522 m. There are about 100 different land use classes being divided among six major groups: (1) urban, (2) agricultural, (3) forest, (4) rangeland and pastures, (5) wetlands and (6) water bodies. The Soil and Water Assessment Tool (SWAT model) has been applied to the catchment areas in order to simulate water discharges to Ria Formosa, providing forcing to a two-dimensional vertically integrated coupled physical-biogeochemical model, implemented with EcoDynamo—an object oriented modelling software. This model includes water column and sediment processes as well as their interactions and several biological sub-models (e.g. phytoplankton dynamics and bivalve growth). The main objectives of this work are to: (i) Evaluate the relative importance of land drainage, waste water treatment (WTP) plants and water exchanges, across the lagoon inlets, for nutrient dynamics; (ii) Analyse management scenarios related to changes in lagoon bathymetry and their potential effects on system dynamics. Model’ results are being used by the Ria Formosa Natural Park authority for management purposes and may be useful to feedback future updates of the watershed management plans, within the scope of the European Union Water Framework Directive.


Stream Flow Macroalgae Water Framework Directive Coastal Lagoon Water Residence Time 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



This work was supported by DITTY project (Development of an information technology tool for the management of Southern European lagoons under the influence of river-basin runoff) (EESD Project EVK3-CT-2002-00084). The authors wish to thank the critics from two anonymous reviewers.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • P. Duarte
    • 1
  • B. Azevedo
    • 1
  • M. Guerreiro
    • 1
  • C. Ribeiro
    • 1
  • R. Bandeira
    • 1
  • A. Pereira
    • 1
  • M. Falcão
    • 2
  • D. Serpa
    • 2
  • J. Reia
    • 3
  1. 1.CIAGEB, Faculty of Science and TechnologyFernando Pessoa UniversityPortoPortugal
  2. 2.Portuguese Marine Research Institute (IPIMAR)OlhãoPortugal
  3. 3.Parque Natural da Ria Formosa, Centro de Educação Ambiental do MarimOlhãoPortugal

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