Physical forcing of phytoplankton dynamics in the Al-Wajh lagoon (Red Sea)

Peng Zhan, Georgios Krokos, John Gittings, Dionysios E. Raitsos, Daquan Guo, Nikolaos Papagiannopoulos, Ibrahim Hoteit

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Coastal lagoons are biodiversity hotspots that support neighboring ecosystems and various services. They can exhibit distinct biophysical characteristics compared to the adjacent open sea and act paradoxically as autonomous ecosystems. Using remotely sensed observations and state-of-the-art numerical simulations, the role of water column hydrodynamics in shaping the seasonal succession of phytoplankton biomass was investigated for a non-estuarine coastal lagoon situated in the northeastern Red Sea. Observations reveal that seasonal phytoplankton blooms inside the lagoon occur during a distinctively different period compared to the adjacent open sea. We provide evidence that this striking difference is due to the contrasting hydrodynamic conditions between inside and outside the lagoon, through their effects on stratification that regulate nutrient availability and hence favorable conditions to sustain rapid phytoplankton growth. The proposed mechanism may offer new insights into understanding the biophysical dynamics of non-estuarine coastal lagoons in other tropical regions of the global oceans.
Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalLimnology And Oceanography Letters
StatePublished - Jul 5 2022

Bibliographical note

KAUST Repository Item: Exported on 2022-09-14
Acknowledged KAUST grant number(s): REP/1/3268-01-01
Acknowledgements: The research reported in this manuscript was supported by the office of sponsored research (OSR) at King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST) under the Virtual Red Sea Initiative (grant no. REP/1/3268-01-01) and by Beacon Development company at KAUST. The research made use of the resources of the Supercomputing Laboratory and computer clusters at KAUST. The authors also acknowledge a grant from the Living Planet Felllowship of the European Space Agency (POSEIDON/14-03-2021). The authors acknowledge the SENTINEL and OC-CCI Chl-a data provided by the European Space Agency. The authors thank Emma Sullivan for processing the SENTINEL data, and Vassilis Papadopoulos and Pavlidou Alexandra for providing the in situ Chl a data.


Dive into the research topics of 'Physical forcing of phytoplankton dynamics in the Al-Wajh lagoon (Red Sea)'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this