Research Output

Studying the assimilative capacity of Loch Creran.

  Semi-enclosed coastal systems are of great importance both
environmentally and economically. In recent years, increased
anthropogenic activities in these areas brought the need for integrated,
ecosystem-scale management. This study proposes to estimate the
assimilative capacity of a small fjord.
This study had three main aims. The first one was to compare the pelagic
properties observed in the 2000s to those observed at the same site in the
1970s, the second one was to design an accurate but simple, two
dimensional dynamic model of a fjordic system for the prediction of
chlorophyll and nutrient concentrations, and the third one was to propose
a method for the estimation of the assimilative capacity of the fjord. This
study was carried out on Loch Creran, a shallow fjord in the Scottish
Highlands, in which a large fish farm was established in the 1980s.
A sampling campaign was carried out 2003-2004 in order to collect time
series of chlorophyll, dissolved inorganic nutrients and particulate organic
matter concentrations; temperature, salinity, density and turbidity profiles
and microplankton and mesozooplankton diversity, abundance and
biomass. Similar time series from the 1970s were gathered from the
literature. The data from both decades were compared and showed
significant changes in some physical, chemical and biological properties.
The cessation of activity of an alginate production plant, changes in
weather patterns and the introduction of aquaculture were identified as
possible causes.
A simple two-dimensional, three-box dynamic model of Loch Creran was
designed. It has only three state variables (chlorophyll, nitrogen and
phosphorus concentrations) and two crucial parameters (the exchange
rate and the yield of chlorophyll from nutrients) as well as an opticalphotosynthetic
sub-model. The model was tested against observations for
the years 1975 and 2003 and showed an overall good fit. The model was
then run under different scenarios in order to estimate the assimilative
capacity of Loch Creran for nitrogen and phosphorus and its carrying
capacity for farmed salmon.

  • Type:


  • Date:

    31 May 2009

  • Publication Status:


  • Library of Congress:

    HV Social pathology. Social and public welfare

  • Dewey Decimal Classification:

    551 Geology, hydrology & meteorology


Laurent, C. Studying the assimilative capacity of Loch Creran. (Thesis). Edinburgh Napier University. Retrieved from


Loch Creran; coastal systems; ecosystem-scale management;

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