Phosphorus retention and remobilization along hydrological pathways in karst terrain

Jarvie, Helen P.; Sharpley, Andrew N.; Brahana, Van; Simmons, Tarra; Price, April; Neal, Colin; Lawlor, Alan J.; Sleep, Darren; Thacker, Sarah; Haggard, Brian E.. 2014 Phosphorus retention and remobilization along hydrological pathways in karst terrain. Environmental Science & Technology, 48 (9). 4860-4868.

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Karst landscapes are often perceived as highly vulnerable to agricultural phosphorus (P) loss, via solution-enlarged conduits that bypass P retention processes. Although attenuation of P concentrations has been widely reported within karst drainage, the extent to which this results from hydrological dilution, rather than P retention, is poorly understood. This is of strategic importance for understanding the resilience of karst landscapes to P inputs, given increasing pressures for intensified agricultural production. Here hydrochemical tracers were used to account for dilution of P, and to quantify net P retention, along transport pathways between agricultural fields and emergent springs, for the karst of the Ozark Plateau, midcontinent USA. Up to ~70% of the annual total P flux and ~90% of the annual soluble reactive P flux was retained, with preferential retention of the most bioavailable (soluble reactive) P fractions. Our results suggest that, in some cases, karst drainage may provide a greater P sink than previously considered. However, the subsequent remobilization and release of the retained P may become a long-term source of slowly released “legacy” P to surface waters.

Item Type: Publication - Article
Digital Object Identifier (DOI):
Programmes: CEH Topics & Objectives 2009 - 2012 > Water > WA Topic 2 - Ecohydrological Processes > WA - 2.1 - Identify and quantify sources, fluxes and pathways of water, chemicals ...
UKCEH and CEH Sections/Science Areas: Boorman (to September 2014)
UKCEH Fellows
ISSN: 0013-936X
NORA Subject Terms: Ecology and Environment
Agriculture and Soil Science
Date made live: 23 Apr 2014 13:09 +0 (UTC)

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