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Biogeochemical processes in estuarine systems

More:  Institute 
Dutch title: Biogeochemische processen in estuariene systemen
Reference no: OND1273714
Period: 2000 till 2004
Status: Completed

Thesaurus terms: Biogeochemical cycle; Biogeochemistry; Nutrient cycles
Geographical term: ANE, Netherlands, Westerschelde [Marine Regions]

Institute  Top 
  • Koninklijk Nederlands Instituut voor Onderzoek der Zee; NIOZ Yerseke, more, secretariat

Problem definition: Most estuaries are heterotrophic, i.e. respiration dominates over production. Heterotrophic estuaries are characterised by bacterial production higher than primary production, high organic loading, high nutrient levels, high degree of stauration and effluxes of carbon dioxide, release of greenhouse gases and extensive denitrification. In heterotrophic systems organic carbon cycling controls nitrogen cycling rather than the opposite. Estuaries are very dynamic systems with high turn-over rates of carbon, nitrogen and other biogeochemical components and with distinct spatial gradients. Because of logistic and financial constraints, field measurement will alwys be limited in spatial and temporal coverage. In order to obtain information on a scale relevant for regional, or global, cycles, it is important te develop process-based integrative models that allow extrapolations to be made. The Westerschelde is a typical turbid, tidal estuary in which bacterial processing of imported organic matter dominates over primary production. The ecosystem functioning and carbon and nitrogen dynamics of the Westerschelde will be studied using a number of approaches: 1) the seasonal study of nutrients and other basic parameters; 2) detailed process measurements on key processes such as denitrification, nitrogen assimilation, etc.; 3) development of state-f-the-art coupled benthic-pelagic biogeochemical models Objectives: : * To quantify the importance of marches in estuarine carbon and nutrient cycles * To use stable isotopes at natural abundance and as deliberate tracers to trace carbon and nutrient flows * To improve coupled biogeochemical models for estuarine systems. Planning 2000: * Elaboration results from BIOGEST project (EU supported) * Elaboration results from OMES/SIGMA projects ( supported by Vlaamse Gemeenschap)

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