Complex hydrological controls on wet sand dune slacks: The importance of local variability

Jones, M. L. M. ORCID:; Reynolds, B.; Brittain, S. A.; Norris, D. A.; Rhind, P. M.; Jones, R. E.. 2006 Complex hydrological controls on wet sand dune slacks: The importance of local variability. Science of the Total Environment, 372. 266-277.

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Dune slacks are a species-rich habitat controlled largely by water chemistry and fluctuations in groundwater. Changes in water chemistry and water table level were analysed in 8 piezometers and 15 ephemeral surface water locations at a large UK dune system over a 12-month period. Total nitrogen concentrations in groundwater varied from 0.27–8.21 mg N L− 1, where dissolved organic nitrogen was dominant at the low nitrogen locations and nitrate was dominant at the high nitrogen locations. Principal components analysis of the water chemistry suggests at least four chemically distinct groundwater signatures. Water levels showed strong temporal heterogeneity. Comparisons of water levels with antecedent rainfall identified a component of year-round groundwater feed and differing seasonal responses overlain by a complex series of lags. In summer, there were lags of four, six and seven months with an additional rapid peaky response to daily rainfall with a one-day lag. In winter, water levels were strongly influenced by exogenous groundwater supply, but again exhibited multiple lags. This study shows that local variations in water chemistry and in hydrological regime can be more complicated than previously thought, with clear implications for optimum management of these high priority habitats for conservation.

Item Type: Publication - Article
Digital Object Identifier (DOI):
Programmes: CEH Programmes pre-2009 publications > Biogeochemistry
UKCEH and CEH Sections/Science Areas: _ Biogeochemistry & Ecosystem Function
ISSN: 0048-9697
Additional Keywords: hydrochemistry, nitrate, sand dunes, water table, groundwater
NORA Subject Terms: Ecology and Environment
Date made live: 07 May 2008 08:46 +0 (UTC)

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