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Planktonic and Whole System Metabolism in a Nutrient-Rich Estuary (The Scheldt Estuary)

Frédéric Gazeau, Jean-Pierre Gattuso, Jack J. Middelburg, Natacha Brion, Laure-Sophie Schiettecatte, Michel Frankignoulle and Alberto Vieira Borges
Estuaries
Vol. 28, No. 6 (Dec., 2005), pp. 868-883
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/3526953
Page Count: 16
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Since scans are not currently available to screen readers, please contact JSTOR User Support for access. We'll provide a PDF copy for your screen reader.
Planktonic and Whole System Metabolism in a Nutrient-Rich Estuary (The Scheldt Estuary)
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Abstract

Planktonic gross primary production (GPP), community respiration (CR), and nitrification (NIT) were measured monthly in the Scheldt estuary by the oxygen incubation method in 2003. No significant evolution of planktonic GPP was observed since the 1990s with high rates in the freshwater area (salinity 0; 97± 65 mmol C m-2 d-1) decreasing seaward (22-37 mmol C m-2 d-1). A significant decrease of NIT was observed with regard to previous investigations although this process still represents up to 20% of total organic matter production in the inner estuary. Planktonic CR was highest in the inner estuary and seemed to be mainly controlled by external organic matter inputs. Planktonic net community production was negative most of the time in the estuary with values ranging from -300 to 165 mmol C m-2 d-1. Whole estuary net ecosystem production (NEP) was investigated on an annual scale using the results mentioned above and published benthic metabolic rates. A NEP of -39± 8 mmol C m-2 d-1 was estimated, which confirms the strong heterotrophic status of this highly nutrified estuary. NEP rates were computed from June to December 2003 to compare with results derived from the Land-Ocean Interaction in the Coastal Zone budgeting procedure applied to dissolved inorganic phosphorus and carbon (DIP and DIC). DIP budgets failed to provide realistic estimates in the inner estuary where abiotic processes account for more than 50% of the nonconservative DIP flux. DIC budgets predicted a much lower NEP than in situ incubations (-109 ± 31 versus -42± 9 mmol C m-2 d-1) although, as each approach is associated with several critical assumptions, the source of this discrepancy remains unclear.

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