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Nitrification and inorganic nitrogen distribution in a large perturbed river/estuarine system: the Pearl River Estuary, China

Abstract : We investigated the spatial distribution and seasonal variation of dissolved inorganic nitrogen in a large perturbed estuary, the Pearl River Estuary, based on three cruises conducted in winter (January 2005), summer (August 2005) and spring (March 2006). On-site incubation was also carried out for determining ammonium and nitrite oxidation rates (nitrification rates). We observed a year-round pattern of dramatic decrease in NH4+, increase in NO3? but insignificant change in NO2? in the upper estuary at salinity ~0?5. However, species and concentrations of inorganic nitrogen at estuary significantly changed with season. In winter with low runoff the most upper reach of the Pearl River Estuary showed relatively low rates of ammonia oxidation (0?5.4 ?mol N L?1 d?1) and nitrite oxidation (0?5.2 ?mol N L?1 d?1), accompanied by extremely high concentrations of ammonia (up to >800 ?mol L?1) and nitrate (up to >300 ?mol L?1). In summer, the upper estuary showed higher nitrification rates (ammonia oxidation rate ~1.5?33.1 ?mol N L?1 d?1, nitrite oxidation rate ~0.6?32.0 ?mol N L?1 d?1) with lower concentrations of ammonia (<350 ?mol L?1) and nitrate (<120 ?mol L?1). The Most Probable Number test showed relatively lower nitrifier abundance in summer at most sampling stations, indicating a greater specific nitrification rate per cell in the warm season. Temperatures appeared to control nitrification rates to a large degree in different seasons. In addition to aerobic respiration, nitrification contributed significantly to the consumption of dissolved oxygen (DO) and production of CO2 at the upper estuary. Nitrification-induced DO consumption accounted for approximately up to one third of the total water column community DO consumption in the upper estuary during surveyed periods, boosting environmental stress on this large estuarine ecosystem.
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Submitted on : Friday, April 11, 2008 - 8:00:00 AM
Last modification on : Wednesday, March 13, 2019 - 3:16:06 PM
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  • HAL Id : hal-00297996, version 1




Minhan Dai, Lifang Wang, Xianghui Guo, Weidong Zhai, Qing Li, et al.. Nitrification and inorganic nitrogen distribution in a large perturbed river/estuarine system: the Pearl River Estuary, China. Biogeosciences Discussions, European Geosciences Union, 2008, 5 (2), pp.1545-1585. ⟨hal-00297996⟩



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