Physical and chemical parameters were measured in a mostly freshwater estuarine lagoon in the SE Baltic. Present paper demonstrates an attempt to trace the sources and analyse the seasonal and spatial patterns of distribution of POC, DIC and DOC in the Curonian lagoon mostly by the isotopic content in different forms of carbon. Samples were collected in 2012-2014 in 9 stations in the Curonian lagoon including riverine and marine input/output stations. Riverine inputs and summarizing outflow to the Baltic sea locations (Nemunas river delta and Klaipeda channel stations were sampled monthly, while POC, DIC and DOC samples in other stations were collected on a seasonal basis. The observed results allow easily differentiate between estuarine and riverine POM samples, while the differences in DOC δ13C content between sampling stations were found to be not statistically reliable. The high biological productivity of the Nemunas river along with the minor contribution of the Baltic Sea inflows to the overall hydrodynamics of the lagoon explain similarity of content between riverine and estuarine material in the spring and autumn. However, the δ13C content of DIC and DOC could serve as indicator of external inputs only in connection with seasonal water residence variations.
In this study, an NPZD model and a trophic network model that contains organism groups on the higher trophic levels were developed and linked using the “bottom-up control” approach. Such a linkage of models provides the possibility to use the advantages of both models; reproducing of the erratic behaviour of nutrients and plankton as realistic as possible, while still taking the more complex organisms in the trophic network, which respond to external forcing in a larger time scale. The models developed in this study were applied to the Curonian Lagoon that is an important estuarine ecosystem for Lithuania. The tests and simulations have proven that the results of the NPZD model were accurate enough for representing the nutrient and phytoplankton dynamics in the Curonian Lagoon as well as spatial differences which are of ecological interest. Linkage with trophic network model demonstrated NPZD model results to be consistent with the Curonian Lagoons ecosystem. The modelling results showed that primary production is relatively high in the Curonian Lagoon and is unlikely to be controlled by the organisms that are on the higher trophic levels of the food web. Analysis of the NPZD model scenarios with different nutrients inputs revealed that phosphorus is the main limiting nutrient for primary production in the Curonian Lagoon. However, different combinations of nitrogen and phosphorus inputs control the relative abundance of different phytoplankton groups. Investigation of reaction of ecosystem to water temperature increase showed that the temperature increase finally leads to decrease of available phytoplankton to upper levels of the food web.