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δ¹⁵N Dynamics of Ammonium and Particulate Nitrogen in a Temperate Eutrophic Estuary

Loreto De Brabandere, Natacha Brion, Marc Elskens, Willy Baeyens and Frank Dehairs
Biogeochemistry
Vol. 82, No. 1 (Jan., 2007), pp. 1-14
Published by: Springer
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/20456431
Page Count: 14
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δ¹⁵N Dynamics of Ammonium and Particulate Nitrogen in a Temperate Eutrophic Estuary
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Abstract

We monitored the stable nitrogen isotopic composition (δ¹⁵N) of suspended matter and ammonium in the freshwater stretch of the Scheldt estuary (Belgium) over a full year to investigate for seasonal evolution and possible co-variation between isotopic signatures. The δ¹⁵N value of ammonium remained rather constant during winter (average = +11.4‰) but increased significantly with the spring and summer bloom, reaching values as high as +70‰. This enrichment of the ammonium pool in ¹⁵N coincided with significant ammonium depletion during summer period, suggesting a close causal relationship. Based on a semi-closed system approach we deduced an apparent fractionation factor associated with $\text{NH}_{4}^{+}$ utilization (i.e. combining effects of uptake and nitrification) of 18.4‰ (SE = 2.0‰), which is similar to values reported in literature. Observed variations of ammonium δ¹⁵N could account for about 69% of δ¹⁵N variation in suspended matter.

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