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Seasonal patterns of pore-water nutrients, benthic chlorophyll a and sedimentary AVS in a macrobenthos-rich tidal flat
Magni, P.; Montani, S. (2006). Seasonal patterns of pore-water nutrients, benthic chlorophyll a and sedimentary AVS in a macrobenthos-rich tidal flat. Hydrobiologia 571: 297-311
In: Hydrobiologia. Springer: The Hague. ISSN 0018-8158, more
Peer reviewed article  

Available in Authors 
    VLIZ: Open Repository 101618 [ MOA ]

Keywords
    Benthos; Nutrients (mineral); Pore water; Tidal flats; Marine

Authors  Top 
  • Magni, P., more
  • Montani, S.

Abstract
    Monthly field investigations were carried out at controlled low-tide in an estuarine intertidal sandflat of the Seto Inland Sea (Japan) between January 1995 and April 1996. We assessed the spatial and temporal distribution of pore-water nutrient [NH 4 + -N, (NO 3  + NO 2 )-N, PO 4 3− -P and Si(OH)4-Si], chlorophyll a (chl a) and acid-volatile sulphide (AVS) concentrations in the uppermost 0–10 cm sediment horizon, and evaluated their relationships with macrobenthic assemblages. Monthly hydrological data, nutrient and chl a concentrations in low-tide creek water adjacent to the flat were used as a complementary environmental characterisation of the study area. All different pore-water nutrients showed a 10 to > 30-fold variability between different layers and periods. NH 4 + -N, PO 4 3− -P and Si(OH)4-Si concentrations were lowest in winter, progressively increased throughout spring and summer, and were highest between September and October, with a major increase at intermediate (4–8 cm) layers. In contrast, (NO 3  + NO 2 )-N concentrations, correlated positively with chl a, peaked in winter and sharply decreased with depth in all different seasons and in most occasions. Depth-integrated NH 4 + -N, PO 4 3− -P and Si(OH)4-Si pools were correlated positively with biogenic nutrient flux calculated from the nutrient excretion rates of dominant bivalves Ruditapes philippinarum and Musculista senhousia. These relationships indicated rapid removal pathways of P, Si and N (i.e., every 0.1, 0.24 and 0.34 day, respectively), implying highly dynamic sediments. Based on the mass balance P = F + I, biogenic production (P) vs. diffusive flux (F) estimates suggested a predominant contribution of animal bioirrigation (I) to the upward flux of nutrients. AVS concentrations, correlated negatively with both (NO 3  + NO 2 )-N and chl a, showed a progressive increase from late summer throughout winter, subsequent to that of NH 4 + -N, PO 4 3− -P and Si(OH)4-Si. The results indicate that in our study area the spatial and temporal distribution of pore-water nutrients, chl a and AVS in sediments are strongly interlinked and suggest that the metabolic processes (e.g., excretion, bio-deposition) and behavioural activities (e.g., particle mixing, bioirrigation) of abundant macrobenthos play an important role in the year-round biogeochemical processes occurring on this flat.

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