- Bioreactors -- Fluid dynamics,
- Columbia River Estuary (Or. and Wash.) -- Hydrodynamics,
- Sediment transport -- Mathematical models
Large rivers represent gateways for the transport of terrigenous and anthropogenic material to the coastal ocean. Here we document a ?700 km2 recirculation or bulge associated with the Columbia River plume that retains recently discharged river water sufficiently to create a regional bioreactor. Fueled by a fluvial nitrate source, this feature stimulated growth across three trophic levels and may buffer this gateway system during periods of increased warming and stratification that lead to decreased ocean productivity, potentially enhancing production at multiple trophic levels and enriching surfacewaters far from the river mouth.