Author(s): Telesh IV
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Abstract Different levels of eutrophication and pollution in the Baltic coastal waters in general, and in estuaries particularly define variations in the buffering capacity of ecosystems of these important filter zones between rivers and the adjacent Baltic Proper. Phyto- and zooplankton in the estuaries form important components of the pelagic food webs that participate in producing and structuring the matter, energy, and information fluxes in the ecosystems. Due to salinity gradients, estuaries provide a large variety of aquatic habitats for native populations of marine, brackish and fresh water plankton species. Non-indigenous planktonic species that expand their bio-geographical range and invade the Baltic coastal ecosystems also find favourable environments, establish permanent populations there, and impact aboriginal ecosystems. The dynamics of abundance, species diversity, population structure, productivity of planktonic communities, and peculiarities of trophic interactions in different Baltic estuaries are influenced by a number of common environmental factors. Being measured on the unified basis and monitored, changes (or stability) of structural and functional parameters of plankton communities can serve as indicators of alterations to the ecosystems. Comparative analyses and quantitative estimates of long-term changes in phyto- and zooplankton can contribute to evaluation of functional response of Baltic coastal ecosystems to anthropogenic stress. Both theoretical (modeling) and empirical studies of interactions within plankton communities aimed at the assessment of the role of planktonic organisms in water quality regulation, and applicability of these data for the evaluation of the status of ecosystems and their management can be considered as major goals for the future investigations in Baltic estuaries.
This article was published in Mar Pollut Bull
and referenced in Journal of Ecosystem & Ecography