The northern Adriatic (NA) is a semi-enclosed shalow basin which is highly reactive to external forcing, in particular to variations of water, energy and matter fluxes at interfaces.
Identified as the Mediterranean's climatic change „hotspot“ the region expects to undergo environmental impacts, considerably greater than in many other marine systems. The region deserves a special interest as an area of winter dense water formation which flows out of the Adriatic and brings nutrients and oxygen to the Mediterranean.
Winter conditions in NA are crucial for increase/decrease in population of one of the most commercial fish species of the region, anchovy, as it has been recently established. Threats to the ecosystem are among others due to the intrusion of alohtone species, and undesirable phenomena of different intensity and duration (e. g. appearance of large mucilage aggregates or bottom anoxia events). Center for Marine Research-Rovinj's long-term oceanographic data base (since 1920) was ground for development of an “empirical ecological model” (EEM) explaining changes in NA ecosystem relating them to changes in water masses dynamics and geostrophic currents, air-sea fluxes and riverine discharge.
Response of the NA to various forcing and especially those related to climatic changes and anthropogenic impacts (acidification and eutrophication) is the aim of the EEM. Acquisition of new data and support of a numerical model will allow an extension and re-examination of existing knowledge on NA ecosystem changes, especially in the coastal zone. A buoy positioned at a point that integrates the greatest part of the NA dynamics will serve as a hub for the continuous acquisition of meteorological, oceanographic and biological parameters. Coastal and open zones will be monitored bi-weekly and seasonaly, respectively, in order to reveal presence of gyres, in which freshened and nutrient rich waters from Po can reside, and have high impact on the NA ecosystem.
Together with the largest historical data set in the wider area and the most advanced approaches, including numerical modelling of ecosystem processes, that will allow us a better insight in various interaction in the NA ecosystem.
Our research would address changes in various aspects of ecosystem dynamics, including the acidification, bioproduction degree along with zooplankton and phytoplankton communities composition and abundance, bottom anoxia events, organic matter characteristics, links to increased fish production, and to phenomena which cannot be foreseen at present but can occur in the forthcoming period of measurements, as are appearance of mucilage events or intrusion of alohtone species.