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Instantaneous Effects of Sediment Resuspension on Inorganic and Organic Benthic Nutrient Fluxes at a Shallow Water Coastal Site in the Gulf of Finland, Baltic Sea

New publication by Juha Niemistö & Lars Chresten Lund-Hansen

2019.11.01 | Peter Schmidt Mikkelsen

Abstract:

Climate change is leading to harsher resuspension events in shallow coastal environments influencing benthic nutrient fluxes. However, we lack information on the quantitative connection between these fluxes and the physical forces. Two identical experiments that were carried out both in May and August provided novel knowledge on the instantaneous effects of resuspension with known intensity on the benthic dissolved inorganic (phosphate: DIP, ammonium: NH4 +, nitrite+nitrate: NOx, silicate, DSi) and organic nutrient (phosphorus: DOP, nitrogen: DON, carbon: DOC) fluxes in the shallow soft bottoms of the archipelago of Gulf of Finland (GoF), Baltic Sea. Resuspension treatments, as 2 times the critical shear stress, induced effluxes of one to two orders of magnitude higher than the diffusive fluxes from the studied oxic bottoms. The presence of oxygen resulted in newly formed iron oxyhydroxides and the subsequent precipitation/ adsorption of the redox-dependent nutrients (DIP, DSi, organic nutrients) affecting their fluxes. Resuspension-induced NH4 + and NOx fluxes were associated with the organic content of sediments showing the highest values at the organic rich sites. NH4 + showed the strongest responses to resuspension treatments in August, but NOx at the time of high oxygen concentrations in near-bottom water in May. Foreseen increases in the frequency and intensity of resuspension events due to climate change will most likely enhance the internal nutrient loading of the studied coastal areas. The fluxes presented here, connected to known current velocities, can be utilized in modeling work and to assess and predict the internal nutrient loading following climate change.

Estuaries and Coasts. doi.org/10.1007/s12237-019-00648-5

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