Computer simulations of seasonal outbreak and diurnal vertical migration of cyanobacteria

H. Serizawa, T. Amemiya, Axel Rossberg, K. Itoh

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Citations (Scopus)


Algal blooms caused by cyanobacteria are characterized by two features with different time scales: one is seasonal outbreak and collapse of a bloom and the other is diurnal vertical migration. Our two-component mathematical model can simulate both phenomena, in which the state variables are nutrients and cyanobacteria. The model is a set of one-dimensional reaction-advection-diffusion equations, and temporal changes of these two variables are regulated by the following five factors: (1) annual variation of light intensity, (2) diurnal variation of light intensity, (3) annual variation of water temperature, (4) thermal stratification within a water column and (5) the buoyancy regulation mechanism. The seasonal change of cyanobacteria biomass is mainly controlled by factors, (1), (3) and (4), among which annual variations of light intensity and water temperature directly affect the maximum growth rate of cyanobacteria. The latter also contributes to formation of the thermocline during the summer season. Thermal stratification causes a reduction in vertical diffusion and largely prevents mixing of both nutrients and cyanobacteria between the epilimnion and the hypolimnion. Meanwhile, the other two factors, (2) and (5), play a significant role in diurnal vertical migration of cyanobacteria. A key mechanism of vertical migration is buoyancy regulation due to gas-vesicle synthesis and ballast formation, by which a quick reversal between floating and sinking becomes possible within a water column. The mechanism of bloom formation controlled by these five factors is integrated into the one-dimensional model consisting of two reaction-advection-diffusion equations.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)185-194
Number of pages10
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2008

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Aquatic Science
  • Ecology
  • Water Science and Technology


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