THE ECOLOGICAL STATE OF THE ELEFSIS BAY PRIOR TO THE OPERATION OF THE ATHENS SEA OUTFALL
AuthorTheodorou, A. J.
Nutrient pollution in Elefsis Bay arises mainly from the disposal of Athens untreated wastewater at the eastern entrance of the Bay. The absence of river discharge, lack of cultivated agricultural areas providing runoff and the Bay's limited circulation provide the conditions for the Bay's eutrophication by the discharge of untreated wastewater. In the spring of 1993 this discharge was replaced by a new deep outfall system. To monitor any future changes an assessment of the present ecological state of the Bay is required Analysis of appropriate data showed that Elefsis Bay accumulates nutrients. In summer a strong thermal stratification causes anoxic conditions to occur in the lower layer. The ecosystem exhibits reduced species diversity and strong oscillations of plankton annual cycles. Flagellates (Cryptomonas sp.) dominate the phytoplankton, followed by dinoflagellates (Gyrodinium aureolum, Prorocentum dentatum) and only in the spring diatoms (Nitzschia) predominate. The zooplankton was dominated by copepods (Acartia clausi) and cladoceran (Podon polyphemoides). Macrobenthos consists of a small number of pollution-resistant species of Polychaeta (Capitela Capitata), whilst in summer only one species of Molluscs (Corbula gibba) survives.