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Hydrography, nutrients, and plankton along the longitudinal section of the Ombla Estuary (south-eastern Adriatic)

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  06 February 2012

Marina Carić*
Institute for Marine and Coastal Research, University of Dubrovnik, PO Box 83, HR-20000 Dubrovnik, Croatia
Nenad Jasprica
Institute for Marine and Coastal Research, University of Dubrovnik, PO Box 83, HR-20000 Dubrovnik, Croatia
Frano Kršinić
Institute of Oceanography and Fisheries, Setaliste I. Mestrovica 63, PO Box 500, HR-21000 Split, Croatia
Ivica Vilibić
Institute of Oceanography and Fisheries, Setaliste I. Mestrovica 63, PO Box 500, HR-21000 Split, Croatia
Mirna Batistić
Institute for Marine and Coastal Research, University of Dubrovnik, PO Box 83, HR-20000 Dubrovnik, Croatia
Correspondence should be addressed to: M. Carić, Institute for Marine and Coastal Research, University of Dubrovnik, PO Box 83, HR-20000 Dubrovnik, Croatia email:


Abundance and structure of phytoplankton and zooplankton, along with their relationship to hydrographic conditions were determined in the highly stratified estuary of the karstic Ombla River, south-eastern Adriatic. Sampling was carried out during 17 cruises within a one year period. River discharge lowered surface salinity and enriched the estuary with NO3 and SiO4. Nutrient ratios suggested that PO4 was the most likely limiting nutrient for phytoplankton growth in the estuary. Diatoms were present in low numbers and dominated the winter–early spring period. Dinoflagellates dominated from the end of May to August. Phytoplankton and zooplankton were composed mostly of marine species and their abundance decreased in seaward direction. Planktonic populations are controlled by the river runoff, temperature, salinity, nutrient concentrations and grazing. The results were consistent with the hypothesis that no algal blooms have been recorded due to short renewal time.

Research Article
Copyright © Marine Biological Association of the United Kingdom 2012

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