J. Mar. Sci. Eng.2015, 3(3), 793-820; doi:10.3390/jmse3030793 (registering DOI) - published 4 August 2015 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: Mangroves are found throughout the tropics, providing critical ecosystem goods and services to coastal communities and supporting rich biodiversity. Globally, mangroves are being rapidly degraded and deforested at rates exceeding loss in many tropical inland forests. Madagascar contains around 2% of the global distribution, >20% of which has been deforested since 1990, primarily from over-harvest for forest products and conversion for agriculture and aquaculture. While historically not prominent, mangrove loss in Madagascar’s Mahajamba Bay is increasing. Here, we focus on Mahajamba Bay, presenting long-term dynamics calculated using United States Geological Survey (USGS) national-level mangrove maps contextualized with socio-economic research and ground observations, and the results of contemporary (circa 2011) mapping of dominant mangrove types. The analysis of the USGS data indicated 1050 hectares (3.8%) lost from 2000 to 2010, which socio-economic research suggests is increasingly driven by commercial timber extraction. Contemporary mapping results permitted stratified sampling based on spectrally distinct and ecologically meaningful mangrove types, allowing for the first-ever vegetation carbon stock estimates for Mahajamba Bay. The overall mean carbon stock across all mangrove classes was estimated to be 100.97 ± 10.49 Mg C ha−1. High stature closed-canopy mangroves had the highest average carbon stock estimate (i.e., 166.82 ± 15.28 Mg C ha−1). These estimates are comparable to other published values in Madagascar and elsewhere in the Western Indian Ocean and demonstrate the ecological variability of Mahajamba Bay’s mangroves and their value towards climate change mitigation.
J. Mar. Sci. Eng.2015, 3(3), 772-792; doi:10.3390/jmse3030772 (registering DOI) - published 31 July 2015 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: Chlorine is used commonly to prevent biofouling in cooling water systems. The addition of chlorine poses environmental risks in natural systems due to its tendency to form chlorination by-products (CBPs) when exposed to naturally-occurring organic matter (NOM). Some of these CBPs can pose toxic risks to aquatic and benthic species in the receiving waters. It is, therefore, important to study the fate of residual chlorine and CBPs to fully understand the potential impacts of chlorination to the environment. The goal of this study was to develop improved predictions of how chlorine and CBP concentrations in seawater vary with time, chlorine dose and temperature. In the present study, chlorination of once-through cooling water at Ras Laffan Industrial City (RLIC), Qatar, was studied by collecting unchlorinated seawater from the RLIC cooling water system intake, treating it with chlorine and measuring time series of chlorine and CBP concentrations. Multiple-rate exponential curves were used to represent fast and slow chlorine decay and CBP formation, and site-specific chlorine kinetic relationships were developed. Through extensive analysis of laboratory measurements, it was found that only some of the control parameters identified in the literature were important for predicting residual chlorine and CBP concentrations for this specific location. The new kinetic relationships were able to significantly improve the predictability and validity of Generalized Environmental Modeling System for Surfacewaters (GEMSS)-chlorine kinetics module (CKM), a three-dimensional hydrodynamic and chlorine kinetics and transport model when applied for RLIC outfall studies using actual field measurements.
J. Mar. Sci. Eng.2015, 3(3), 745-771; doi:10.3390/jmse3030745 - published 28 July 2015 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: The reliability of the narrative of the Biblical Exodus has been subject of heated debate for decades. Recent archaeological studies seem to provide new insight of the exodus path, and although with a still controversial chronology, the effects of the Minoan Santorini eruption have been proposed as a likely explanation of the biblical plagues. Particularly, it has been suggested that flooding by the associated tsunamis could explain the first plague and the sea parting. Recent modelling studies have shown that Santorini’s tsunami effects were negligible in the eastern Nile Delta, but the released tectonic stress could have triggered local tsunamigenic sources in sequence. This paper is aimed to a quantitative assessment of the potential role of tsunamis in the biblical parting of the sea. Several “best case” scenarios are tested through the application of a numerical model for tsunami propagation that has been previously validated. The former paleogeographic conditions of the eastern Nile Delta have been implemented based upon recent geological studies; and several feasible local sources for tsunamis are proposed. Tsunamis triggered by submarine landslides of 10–30 km3 could have severely impacted the northern Sinai and southern Levantine coasts but with weak effects in the eastern Nile Delta coastline. The lack of noticeable flooding in this area under the most favorable conditions for tsunamis, along with the time sequence of water elevations, make difficult to accept them as a plausible and literally explanation of the first plague and of the drowning of the Egyptian army in the surroundings of the former Shi-Hor Lagoon.
J. Mar. Sci. Eng.2015, 3(3), 720-744; doi:10.3390/jmse3030720 - published 24 July 2015 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: An understanding of sediment transport processes and resultant concentration dynamics in estuaries is of great importance to engineering design awareness and the management of these environments. Predictive modelling approaches provide an opportunity to investigate and address potential system responses to nominated events, changes, or conditions of interest, often on high temporal and spatial resolution scales. In this study, a three-dimensional hydrodynamic model and wave model were validated and applied to generate forcing conditions for input into a sediment transport model for the period 7 May 2010–30 October 2010 within a macro tidal estuary, Port Curtis estuary (Australia). The hydrodynamic model was verified against surface and near-bottom current measurements. The model accurately reproduced the variations of surface and near-bottom currents at both a mid-estuary and upper-estuary location. Sediment transport model predictions were performed under varying meteorological conditions and tidal forcing over a 180-day period and were validated against turbidity data collected at six stations within Port Curtis estuary. The sediment transport model was able to predict both the magnitudes of the turbidity levels and the modulation induced by the neap and spring tides and wind-wave variations. The model-predicted (converted) turbidity levels compared favourably with the measured surface water turbidity levels at all six stations. The study results have useful practical application for Port Curtis estuary, including providing predictive capabilities to support the selection of locations for monitoring/compliance sites.
J. Mar. Sci. Eng.2015, 3(3), 699-719; doi:10.3390/jmse3030699 - published 24 July 2015 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: The diversity of diazotrophs was studied in the sediment of mangrove forests (Twin Cays, Belize) subjected to a long-term fertilization with nitrogen and phosphorus. Terminal Restriction Fragment Length Polymorphism (TRFLP) and cloning of PCR-amplified nifH genes were combined via in silico analysis to assign clones to TRFLP-nifH phylotypes, as well as to characterize the occurrence of phylotypes in response to environmental conditions. Results indicated that mangrove sediments from Belize harbor a unique diazotrophic community with a low metabolic diversity dominated by sulfate reducers. The variability of potential nitrogen-fixing sulfate reducers was explained by several environmental parameters, primarily by the abundance of dead roots in the sediments, and the concentration of H2S in the pore-waters. This study describes the complexity of microbial communities within the mangrove sediments with specific functional groups varying along environmental gradients.
J. Mar. Sci. Eng.2015, 3(3), 674-698; doi:10.3390/jmse3030674 - published 24 July 2015 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: Monitoring of dune erosion and accretion on the high-energy macrotidal Vougot beach in North Brittany (France) over the past decade (2004–2014) has revealed significant morphological changes. Dune toe erosion/accretion records have been compared with extreme water level measurements, defined as the sum of (i) astronomic tide; (ii) storm surge; and (iii) vertical wave runup. Runup parameterization was conducted using swash limits, beach profiles, and hydrodynamic (Hm0, Tm0,–1, and high tide water level—HTWL) data sets obtained from high frequency field surveys. The aim was to quantify in-situ environmental conditions and dimensional swash parameters for the best calibration of Battjes  runup formula. In addition, an empirical equation based on observed tidal water level and offshore wave height was produced to estimate extreme water levels over the whole period of dune morphological change monitoring. A good correlation between this empirical equation (1.01Hmoξo) and field runup measurements (Rmax) was obtained (R2 85%). The goodness of fit given by the RMSE was about 0.29 m. A good relationship was noticed between dune erosion and high water levels when the water levels exceeded the dune foot elevation. In contrast, when extreme water levels were below the height of the toe of the dune sediment budget increased, inducing foredune recovery. These erosion and accretion phases may be related to the North Atlantic Oscillation Index.