The short-term relationships between the spatial distributions of phytoplankton and the environmental conditions of Esthwaite Water, a small eutrophic lake in the English Lake District, UK, were examined using a hydrodynamic model. Spatial distributions of phytoplankton were simulated on two occasions the first, when the population was dominated by dinoflagellates; and the second, when the population was dominated by cyanobacteria.Vertical motility of the dinoflagellate Ceratium hirundinellaand buoyancy of the cyanobacteria Microcystis ssprm.were estimated as functions of irradiance. Water velocity fields were estimated through solving the 3-D Navier–Stokes equations on a finite-volume, unstructured non-orthogonal grid. Simulated circulation patterns of water and phytoplankton were similar to those obtained through field observations. Near-surface drift currents were initiated by wind stress, which then generated return currents along the seasonal thermocline. Aggregations of motile Ceratiumthat existed near the thermocline were pushed upwind by the deep return currents and accumulated at upwelling areas. In contrast, near-surface aggregations of Microcystiswere pushed downwind by the surface currents and accumulated at downwelling areas. Horizontal and vertical phytoplankton distributions resulted from the interaction between the vertical motility of the phytoplankton (dependent upon the light environment) and the velocity vectors at the depths at which the phytoplankton accumulated (dependent upon wind stress and morphometry). Modelling showed that phytoplankton motility and buoyancy greatly affect phytoplankton spatial distributions.<br/
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