Macrophyte abundance in Waquoit Bay : effects of land-derived nitrogen loads on seasonal and multi-year biomass patterns
Fox, Sophia E.
McClelland, James W.
MetadataShow full item record
Anthropogenic inputs of nutrients to coastal waters have rapidly restructured coastal ecosystems. To examine the response of macrophyte communities to land-derived nitrogen loading, we measured macrophyte biomass monthly for six years in three estuaries subject to different nitrogen loads owing to different land uses on the watersheds. The set of estuaries sampled had nitrogen loads over the broad range of 12 to 601 kg N ha-1 y-1. Macrophyte biomass increased as nitrogen loads increased, but the response of individual taxa varied. Specifically, biomass of Cladophora vagabunda and Gracilaria tikvahiae increased significantly as nitrogen loads increased. The biomass of other macroalgal taxa tended to decrease with increasing load, and the relative proportion of these taxa to total macrophyte biomass also decreased. The seagrass, Zostera marina, disappeared from the higher loaded estuaries, but remained abundant in the estuary with the lowest load. Seasonal changes in macroalgal standing stock were also affected by nitrogen load, with larger fluctuations in biomass across the year and higher minimum biomass of macroalgae in the higher loaded estuaries. There were no significant changes in macrophyte biomass over the six years of this study, but there was a slight trend of increasing macroalgal biomass in the latter years. Macroalgal biomass was not related to irradiance or temperature, but Z. marina biomass was highest during the summer months when light and temperatures peak. Irradiance might, however, be a secondary limiting factor controlling macroalgal biomass in the higher loaded estuaries by restricting the depth of the macroalgal canopy. The relationship between the bloom-forming macroalgal species, C. vagabunda and G. tikvahiae, and nitrogen loads suggested a strong connection between development on watersheds and macroalgal blooms and loss of seagrasses. The influence of watershed land uses largely overwhelmed seasonal and inter-annual differences in standing stock of macrophytes in these temperate estuaries.
Author Posting. © The Author(s), 2008. This is the author's version of the work. It is posted here by permission of Springer for personal use, not for redistribution. The definitive version was published in Estuaries and Coasts 31 (2008): 532-541, doi:10.1007/s12237-008-9039-6.
Showing items related by title, author, creator and subject.
Phosphate availability and the ultimate control of new nitrogen input by nitrogen fixation in the tropical Pacific Ocean Moutin, T.; Karl, David M.; Duhamel, Solange; Rimmelin, P.; Raimbault, P.; Van Mooy, Benjamin A. S.; Claustre, Hervé (Copernicus Publications on behalf of the European Geosciences Union, 2008-01-29)Due to the low atmospheric input of phosphate into the open ocean, it is one of the key nutrients that could ultimately control primary production and carbon export into the deep ocean. The observed trend over the last 20 ...
Cole, Marci L.; Kroeger, Kevin D.; McClelland, James W.; Valiela, Ivan (2005-07-18)Eutrophication is a major agent of change affecting freshwater, estuarine, and marine systems. It is largely driven by transportation of nitrogen from natural and anthropogenic sources. Research is needed to quantify ...
Iron availability limits the ocean nitrogen inventory stabilizing feedbacks between marine denitrification and nitrogen fixation Moore, J. Keith; Doney, Scott C. (American Geophysical Union, 2007-04-04)Recent upward revisions in key sink/source terms for fixed nitrogen (N) in the oceans imply a short residence time and strong negative feedbacks involving denitrification and N fixation to prevent large swings in the ocean ...