Effects of meteorological forcing on coastal eutrophication: modeling with model trees

Tamvakis, A., Miritzis, J., Tsirtsis, G., Spyropoulou, A. and Spatharis, S. (2012) Effects of meteorological forcing on coastal eutrophication: modeling with model trees. Estuarine, Coastal and Shelf Science, 115, pp. 210-217. (doi: 10.1016/j.ecss.2012.09.003)

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The exploration of processes leading to coastal eutrophication is a major challenge in ecological research, particularly in light of important new policies such as the European Water Framework Directive. In the present study primary production (in terms of chlorophyll α – chl α) is modeled based on a number of abiotic parameters using model trees (MTs), a machine learning (ML) approach whereby linear regressions are induced within homogeneous subsets of samples (tree leaves). Standardized regression was applied to determine the relative weight of abiotic parameters in the MT tree leaves whereas the efficiency of the MT method in chl α prediction was tested against neural networks (NNs) which is the most frequently used ML approach, and the classical multiple linear regression (MLR). To assess the efficiency of models to describe eutrophication-related responses under different environmental conditions, the methods were applied on a coastal ecosystem affected by terrestrial runoff for two meteorologically contrasting annual cycles: a typical dry ('04–'05) and a typical wet ('09–'10). MTs showed increased predictive power in chl α prediction attributed to the discrimination of input data space into tree leaves, instead of using a uniform space as in NNs and MLR. By grouping samples of each tested annual cycle (wet and dry) on a seasonal basis into discrete groups/leaves, MTs offer a much more explanatory description of ecosystem status than NNs and MLR. The discriminating variables forming tree leaves and the weighing coefficients of Linear Models (LMs) in each leaf provided a useful scaling of abiotic parameters driving chl α dynamics. The MT method is thus proposed as an efficient tool for obtaining insights into ecosystem processes leading to eutrophication events in coastal ecosystems and a useful component in integrated coastal zone management.

Item Type:Articles
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Spatharis, Dr Sofie
Authors: Tamvakis, A., Miritzis, J., Tsirtsis, G., Spyropoulou, A., and Spatharis, S.
College/School:College of Medical Veterinary and Life Sciences > School of Biodiversity, One Health & Veterinary Medicine
Journal Name:Estuarine, Coastal and Shelf Science
ISSN (Online):1096-0015

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