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Natural isotopic composition of nitrogen as a tracer of origin for suspended organic matter in the Scheldt estuary
Mariotti, A.; Lancelot, C.; Billen, G. (1984). Natural isotopic composition of nitrogen as a tracer of origin for suspended organic matter in the Scheldt estuary. Geochim. Cosmochim. Acta 48(3): 549-555.
In: Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta. Elsevier: Oxford,New York etc.. ISSN 0016-7037, more
Peer reviewed article  

Available in  Authors 
    VLIZ: Open Repository 280869 [ OMA ]

    Marine; Brackish water

Authors  Top 
  • Mariotti, A.
  • Lancelot, C., more
  • Billen, G., more

    The natural isotopic composition of suspended particulate organic nitrogen was determined in the Southern Bight of the North Sea and in the Scheldt estuary. These data show that d15N constitutes a convenient tracer of the origin of the suspended matter.In the winter, in the absence of intensive primary production, the suspended organic matter of the Scheldt estuary is a mixture of two components: a continental detrital component characterized by a low d value of 1.5%. and a marine component with a mean d value of 8%..During the phytoplankton flowering period, lasting from early May to October, intensive primary production occurs throughout the estuary giving rise to a third source of organic matter. This material is characterized by high d values reflecting the isotopic composition of ammonia, the nitrogenous nutrient assimilated by phytoplankton in the estuary.The nitrification process occuring in the mixing area of the Scheldt estuary leads to higher downstream d values of ammonia (>20%.) which permits the distinction between estuarine from fresh-water phytoplankton. Simple isotopic budget calculations show that, both in the upstream part and in the downstream part, autochthonous phytoplanktonic material contributes a major part of the total suspended matter in the Scheldt estuary during summer.

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