Physical controls on the spatial evolution of a dinoflagellate bloom in a large lake

S. M.Y. Ng, J. P. Antenucci, M. R. Hipsey, G. Tibor, T. Zohary

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


A set of satellite images of chlorophyll a concentration for Lake Kinneret (Israel) from the period February to April 2007 captured the temporal evolution of horizontal patchiness that developed during the typical spring bloom of the dinoflagellate Peridinium gatunense. Narrow bands of high concentration located adjacent to the shoreline at the start of the bloom were followed by progressive propagation of this high-concentration region from the shoreline toward the center of the lake as the bloom proceeded. A three-dimensional (3-D) hydrodynamic numerical model and an analytical model for a flat-bottomed elliptical basin together explain the observed phenomenon. The spatial structure of Kelvin waves, which were demonstrated to most likely be present in February and April due to resonance, produced regions of high velocity gradient, contributing to horizontal dispersion close to the shoreline. This region of high dispersion was narrow and close to the shoreline at the start of the bloom when the Burger number was relatively small, but it widened over the course of the season as the Burger number increased due to increasing stratification. In addition, an increase in the dispersion rate with time in the lake interior was inferred from numerical simulation due to increasing wind speeds and a thinner surface layer. Physical processes, in this case, horizontal dispersion as a result of both Kelvin waves and wind, can play an important role in governing the dynamics and spatial evolution of dinoflagellate blooms in lakes.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2265-2281
Number of pages17
JournalLimnology and Oceanography
Issue number6
StatePublished - Nov 2011
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oceanography
  • Aquatic Science


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