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The Role of Sediments and Bryophytes in Phosphorus Dynamics in a Headwater Stream Ecosystem

Judy L. Meyer
Limnology and Oceanography
Vol. 24, No. 2 (Mar., 1979), pp. 365-375
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2835501
Page Count: 11
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The Role of Sediments and Bryophytes in Phosphorus Dynamics in a Headwater Stream Ecosystem
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Abstract

Streambed sediments and the bryophyte community are sites of retention and processing of dissolved phosphorus (DP) in Bear Brook, an undisturbed headwater stream in the Hubard Brook Experimental Forest. Sorption of DP by sediments is an equilibrium process, and the equilibrium phosphorus concentration for silty and sandy sediments was equal to the mean ambient DP concentration (2 μ g P· liter-1). The buffering capacity of the sediments was at a maximum in the pH range characteristic of Bear Brook. Silty sediments had a higher phosphorus buffering capacity than sandy sediments, and leaf-leachate phosphorus was sorbed less than orthophosphate. Phosphorus sorption increased as sediment particle size decreased and as aluminum and organic matter content increased. The microbial community appears to be a relatively minor component of phosphorus buffering capacity in these sediments.

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