The buffering capacity of a small estuary on nutrient fluxes originating from its catchment (Leyre Estuary, SW France)

Mathieu Canton, Pierre Anschutz, Dominique Poirier, Romain Chassagne, Jonathan Deborde, Nicolas Savoye

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

This work studied the impact of a small estuary (a 4 km-long estuary, at the interface between the Leyre River and the Arcachon lagoon, SW France) with a short flushing time on continental nutrient loads to a coastal lagoon. While large estuaries are known to modify the nutrient load of rivers to the coast, the impact on continental fluxes of a short salinity gradient from small coastal rivers is rarely studied. A survey of nutrient and dissolved organic matter concentration, particulate phosphorus speciation and particulate organic matter (POM) concentration and characteristics (C:N ratio and particulate organic carbon delta C-13) showed that the estuarine behaviour varied throughout the year. The autochthonous primary production was a sink of dissolved N, P and Si in spring. During this period, the continental load of dissolved nitrogen was reduced by about 1/3 and phosphorus was totally consumed by estuarine processes. Nutrient recycling occurred in summer with ammonium production although this source was low in comparison with continental fluxes of nitrogen. The phosphorus concentration was dominated by the iron oxides-bound fraction. Contrary to large estuaries, the desorption of particulate phosphorus was not a source of dissolved phosphorus. Our results showed that estuarine processes impacted the net nutrient fluxes during productive periods, although estuarine residence time was very short. Passive transport with conservative mixing of nutrient was observed in autumn and winter. The non-conservative behaviour of small estuaries must be taken into account for nutrient mass balance calculation in lagoon. (C) 2012 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)171-181
Number of pages11
JournalEstuarine, Coastal and Shelf Science
Volume99
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2012

Keywords

  • estuary
  • nitrogen
  • phosphorus
  • particulate organic matter
  • Arcachon lagoon
  • ORGANIC-MATTER
  • EUROPEAN ESTUARIES
  • MACROTIDAL ESTUARY
  • SEASONAL DYNAMICS
  • MARINE-SEDIMENTS
  • PHOSPHORUS CYCLE
  • NITROGEN INPUTS
  • TIDAL ESTUARIES
  • DIFFERENT FORMS
  • NATURAL-WATERS

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