Comparative Assessment of a Two-Layered and Multi-Layered Sediment Model
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Coastal sediments continuously interact with the overlying water column, collecting and decomposing the incoming rain of organic detritus into inorganic nutrients, and consuming oxygen in the process. This thesis compares the ability of two qualitatively different sediment models, a two-layer and a multi-layer model, to quantify the biogeochemical transformations that occur when detritus is decomposed in the sediment. Using sediment flux observations from a mesocosm eutrophication experiment, selected model parameters and different parameterizations for depositional fluxes of organic matter have been optimized using an evolutionary algorithm and a gradient descent algorithm respectively. Simulations with constant depositional fluxes outperformed simulations where deposition was dependent on proxies of biomass concentration in the overlying water. With these constant inputs, both sediment models produced similar nutrient fluxes across the sediment-water interface, however the multi-layer model was better able to adapt to new environments.