Nitrification, denitrification, and nitrate ammonification in sediments of two coastal lagoons in Southern France
- 1) National Environmental Research Institute, Vejlsøvej 25, 8600, Silkeborg, Denmark
- 2) Department of Microbial Ecology, Institute of Biological Sciences, University of Aarhus, Bd. 540, DK-8000, Aarhus C, Denmark
Seasonal and diurnal variations in sediment-water fluxes of O2, NO 3 − , and NH 4 + as well as rates of nitrification, denitrification, and nitrate ammonification were determined in two different coastal lagoons of southern France: The seagrass (Zostera noltii) dominated tidal Bassin d'Arcachon and the dystrophic Etang du Prévost. Overall, denitrification rates in both Bassin d'Arcachon (<0.4 mmol m−2 d−1) and Etang du Prévost (<1 mmol m−2 d−1) were low. This was mainly caused by a combination of low NO 3 − concentrations in the water column and a low nitrification activity within the sediment. In both Bassin d'Arcachon and Etang du Prévost, rates of nitrate ammonification were quantitatively as important as denitrification. Denitrification played a minor role as a nitrogen sink in both systems. In the tidal influenced Bassin d'Arcachon, Z. noltii was quantitatively more important than denitrification as a nitrogen sink due to the high assimilation rates of the plants. Throughout the year, Z. noltii stabilized the mudflats of the bay by its well- developed root matrix and controlled the nitrogen cycle due to its high uptake rates. In contrast, the lack of rooted macrophytes, and dominance of floating macroalgae, made nitrogen cycling in Etang du Prévost more unstable and unpredictable. Inhibition of nitrification and denitrification during the dystrophic crisis in the summer time increased the inorganic nitrogen flux from the sediment to the water column and thus increased the degree of benthic-pelagic coupling within this bay. During winter, however, benthic microalgae colonizing the sediment surface changed the sediment in the lagoon from being a nitrogen source to the over lying water to being a sink due to their high assimilation rates. It is likely, however, that this assimilated nitrogen is liberated to the water column at the onset of summer thereby fueling the extensive growth of the floating macroalgae, Ulva sp. The combination of a high nitrogen coupling between sediment and water column, little water exchange and low denitrification rates resulted in an unstable system with fast growing algal species such as phytoplankton and floating algae.
- 1 - sciences appliquees, technologies et medecines
- 2 - sciences biologiques et medicales
- 3 - sciences biologiques fondamentales et appliquees. psychologie
- 4 - ecologie animale, vegetale et microbienne