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Potential environmental factors influencing mucilage formation in the northern Adriatic Sea

February 16, 2014

In the northern Adriatic Sea, Mediterranean Sea, the mucilage phenomenon is usually related to the aggregation of extracellular organic matter of phytoplanktonic origin under special seasonal and trophic conditions. Environmental factors, such as temperature, salinity, nitrogen, phosphorus and N/P ratio as well as polysaccharide and monosaccharide levels in the presence and absence of mucilage were investigated in the northern Adriatic Sea. Variations in temperature and salinity during spring in years characterised by mucilage events have been recognised having an important role in preparing a favourable physical environment where mucilage formation could take place. Since the DIN/TP ratio increased markedly during the spring months (March–April) in 2002, 2003 and 2004, preceding the early summer mucilage outbreaks, it appeared that the DIN/TP ratio may be a more robust predictor than the DIN/DIP ratio, which, although more commonly used, exhibited a discontinuous trend. The contents of total carbohydrates, including monosaccharides and polysaccharides, in seawater also varied according to the presence or absence of mucilage, with an increase of polysaccharide levels during the late spring or early summer in the period of the mucilage appearance. The role of carbohydrates in the macro-aggregate formation was also investigated.

Riccia F, Pennaa N,  Capellaccia S, Pennaa P, 2014: Potential environmental factors influencing mucilage formation in the northern Adriatic Sea, Chemistry and Ecology, 1-12, doi: 10.1080/02757540.2013.877004. Article (subscription required).

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