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Title: Nutrient dynamics and metabolism in Mediterranean streams affected by nutrient inputs from human activities
Author: Canals Merseburger, Mª Goretti
Director: Sabater i Comas, Francesc
Martí Roca, Eugènia
Keywords: Agricultura i medi ambient
Impacte ambiental
Circulació de nutrients
Issue Date: 24-Apr-2006
Publisher: Universitat de Barcelona
Abstract: A full understanding of nutrient cycling in lotic ecosystems is crucial given the increasing influence of human activities on the eutrophication of streams and rivers. However, existing knowledge about nutrient cycling in human-altered streams (i.e., receiving point and diffuse sources) is still limited. The general objective of this dissertation was to examine point source effects on stream functional attributes, such as nutrient retention, denitrification and metabolism rates. We also quantified how the studied biogeochemical processes contribute to remove dissolved inorganic nitrogen (DIN) from point and diffuse sources, and examined relationships between N uptake measured based on experimental nutrient additions and N demand estimated from metabolism measurements. We selected two reaches located upstream and downstream of a point source in two streams draining a forest- and an agriculturaldominated catchments. Hence, the point source represented the main human influence in the forested stream, whereas the agricultural stream also received diffuse sources. The point source increased concentrations of ammonium (NH4 +-N), nitrate (NO3--N), soluble reactive phosphorus (SRP) and dissolved organic carbon in the forested stream, while only increased SRP concentration in the agricultural stream. The point source effect on water chemistry was likely to be overwhelmed by diffuse sources in this latter stream. Accordingly, point source inputs decreased nutrient retention efficiency, and increased denitrification and metabolism rates in the forested stream, whereas these effects were less clear in the agricultural stream. Retention of NH4 +-N was similar to potential nitrification rates in the two reaches of the two study streams, suggesting the importance of this process in NH4 +-N removal from the water column. Retention of NO3--N was similar to potential denitrification rates in the forested stream, suggesting the importance of this process as a net sink of NO3 --N. In contrast, high NO3--N fluxes in the agricultural stream resulted in low efficiency of denitrifiers to remove N from the water column. Hence, in-stream processes controlled DIN export in the forested stream, despite point source inputs, whereas much of the NO3--N reaching the channel via diffuse sources was lost downstream in the agricultural stream. Finally, estimated N demand was not correlated with measured N demand in any of the study reaches. Nevertheless, decoupling between measured and estimated N demand was clearly lower for the upstream reach of the forested stream (i.e., site with lowest human influence) than for the downstream reach and the two reaches of the agricultural stream (i.e., sites receiving nutrient inputs from human activities). Hence, coupling between carbon metabolism and N uptake in stream ecosystems is likely to become weaker with increasing anthropogenic nutrient inputs.
ISBN: 978846903762
Appears in Collections:Tesis Doctorals - Departament - Ecologia

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