Biogeochemical functioning of grazed estuarine tidal marshes along a salinity gradient

Dausse, Armel; Garbutt, Angus; Norman, Louiza; Papadimitriou, Stathys; Jones, Laurence M.; Robins, Peter E.; Thomas, David N.. 2012 Biogeochemical functioning of grazed estuarine tidal marshes along a salinity gradient. Estuarine, Coastal and Shelf Science, 100. 83-92.

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Depending on their location along an estuarine salinity gradient, tidal marshes are thought to have different impacts on the chemical composition of the water during flooding. However, there is a lack of direct measurements of fluxes occurring between the marsh surface and the water column to corroborate this hypothesis. This study compared fluxes of nutrient and dissolved organic carbon (DOC) between the water column and the marsh surface and the emission of greenhouse gases, at four sites located along the salinity gradient of an estuary of north-western Wales (UK). The exchanges of dissolved organic carbon and nitrogen (DON), dissolved inorganic nitrogen (DIN), soluble reactive phosphorus and silicic acid, carbon dioxide, methane and nitrous oxide were measured during tidal inundation in May and September 2008 using in situ incubation chambers. There was no linear pattern along the salinity gradient and the concentration of nutrients and DOC in the flood water did not appear to control the biogeochemical processes driving the marsh surface/water column exchanges in the studied marshes. Multivariate analysis showed a clear discrimination in functioning between sites with the fresh and brackish marshes having a more similar functioning compared to low and middle marshes. The main differences between these two groupings were in the fluxes of DOC and nitrate. The phenology of plant species, soil organic matter content and soil oxygenation appear be the dominant factors explaining the observed fluxes.

Item Type: Publication - Article
Digital Object Identifier (DOI):
Programmes: CEH Topics & Objectives 2009 - 2012 > Biogeochemistry
UKCEH and CEH Sections/Science Areas: Emmett
ISSN: 0272-7714
Additional Keywords: tidal saltmarshes, estuaries, biogeochemical functioning, nitrogen, carbon, greenhouse gas emissions, nitrous oxide, methane
NORA Subject Terms: Ecology and Environment
Atmospheric Sciences
Date made live: 17 Jan 2013 15:49 +0 (UTC)

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