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Rôle des macrophytes dans la restauration des milieux lagunaires : successions écologiques

Abstract : The growing awareness of the negative impacts of the degradation of the water quality in coastal lagoons because of eutrophication has resulted in public action aiming at the reduction of the nutrient loadings into these lagoons. Hence, some of these coastal lagoons are currently undergoing ecological restoration and have shown a clear improvement of their water quality linked to decreasing phytoplankton biomass in the last 10 years. However, the response of the benthic macrophytes appears more complex, particularly by showing non-linear behaviour. By using complementary approaches including statistical analyses of long-term observations (1998-2015) and in situ measurements, this thesis aims to describe the dynamics of the macrophytes in space and time and to study their functional role during the oligotrophication process. Salinity, depth and nutrient concentrations in the water column represent the main factors that statistically explain the distribution of the benthic macrophyte communities in Mediterranean coastal lagoons. The first steps of the ecological restoration in eutrophied polyhaline and euhaline lagoons has been inferred from the statistical analysis of time series in 21 coastal lagoons. The reduction of the external nutrient loading results in a rapid regime shift (3-4 years) from a phytoplankton-dominated system to a macroalgae-dominated system, with particularly Ulva species. The decreasing inorganic nitrogen concentrations due to uptake by Ulva spp. in the water column appears to facilitate the development of Gracillaria spp. (red algae) and Chaetomorpha spp. (green filamentous algae). While the appearance of these macroalgal species is the result of the ecological restoration, these species also play a central role in this process by regulating the biogeochemical element fluxes. This way these species create more favourable conditions for perennial species. Although for re-oligotrophication trajectories in coastal lagoons our theory describes a tendency towards the return of perennial species, so far, we have not been able to document their return after a long period of absence. This shows, that among other factors, the internal nutrient loading and ecological connectivity are important factors to take into account for the recolonization of angiosperms in coastal lagoons.
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Ines Le Fur. Rôle des macrophytes dans la restauration des milieux lagunaires : successions écologiques. Biodiversité et Ecologie. Université Montpellier, 2018. Français. ⟨NNT : 2018MONTG006⟩. ⟨tel-01815977⟩

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