Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/2445/35305
Title: Nitrogen storm responses in an intermittent Meditterranean stream
Author: Bernal Berenguer, Susana
Director: Sabater i Comas, Francesc
Keywords: Crescudes
Rius
Hidrologia
Contaminació per nitrats
Nitrogen
Conques mediterrànies
Issue Date: 30-Jun-2006
Publisher: Universitat de Barcelona
Abstract: [eng] The amount of dissolved inorganic nitrogen delivered to streams and groundwater has substantially increased in the last decades due to anthropogenic impacts. This fact has stimulated research on processes related to the nitrogen cycling in order to elucidate the ability of terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems in controlling nitrogen loads. Some of these studies pointed out during storms streamwater chemistry is significantly altered. However, because of the inherent difficulty of an extensive field experimental setting for dealing with episodic storms, studies focused on hydrological processes or stream solute dynamics during storms rely on a very limited number of events. Hydrobiogeochemical processes have been mainly studied in temperate experimental catchments and little attention has been paid to Mediterranean catchments. Recent studies have stressed the fragility of Mediterranean regions in front of the global change and because of that Mediterranean regions should become hot spots for present and future studies. The main goal of the present thesis was to study the variability of nutrient dynamics, in particular nitrogen, during stormflow in relation to baseflow conditions in Fuirosos, an intermittent stream draining a small Mediterranean catchment (Part I). As a secondary objective (Part II), solute dynamics in Fuirosos were compared with those measured at one of its main tributaries, the Grimola stream. Biotitic granodiorite was an important fraction of the Fuirosos catchment, whereas the Grimola catchment was underlain by leucogranite. The Fuirosos stream had an alluvial zone and it was flanked by a well developed riparian forest, whereas the Grimola stream had not a significant alluvial zone, neither a well developed riparian area. Thereby, the effect of (i) catchment size, (ii) lithology and (iii) the presence of an alluvial-riparian zone on stream hydrogrochemistry were assessed by comparing the Fuirosos and Grimola streams. The Fuirosos Stream Watershed, a relatively undisturbed Mediterranean ecosystem that can not be considered a N-saturated catchment, leaks to the stream most of the nitrogen loss in the form of nitrate (57 %). This figure contrast with that reported for other pristine tropical and humid catchments where nitrogen export is mainly in the form of dissolved organic nitrogen. In particular, nitrate is mainly mobilized during stormflow conditions (from 52 % to 80 % of the annual yield). Contrastingly, most of the dissolved organic carbon export occurs during baseflow conditions (from 40 to 70 % of the annual yield). These results point to a decoupling between soil nitrification and nutrient uptake by biota, which brings about the leaking of nitrate to the stream. Hydrochemistry in this Mediterranean intermittent stream is highly variable within and in between years. The antecedent moisture conditions and the magnitude of storm events are key factors on shaping the hydrological responses to storm events. However, storm episodes that occur during similar climatological and hydrological conditions produce different streamwater chemistry depending upon the time of the year. This is so, mainly because of the influence of the summer drought period on streamwater chemistry. Both, the mixing model (EMMA) and the spectral analysis approaches, point out that groundwater is the most important contributor to stormflow in Fuirosos. Nonetheless, the EMMA approach emphasizes how stream water and nitrate sources vary throughout the year. Our results stress the importance of sampling storms during all seasons to draw general conclusions about watershed processes. The mixing model shows that nitrate is retained by biota in the Fuirosos alluvial zone only when streamflow is lower than 80 l/s. Above this threshold, the system is not efficient in retaining nitrate arriving from the catchment. This result might be keep on mind when establishing the importance of near- and in-stream processes for regulating catchment nitrate loads since a major fraction of the annual nitrate export usually occurs during stormflow conditions in many catchments. The spectral analysis also shows that the variability of stream nitrate concentrations is more damped in Fuirosos than in Grimola. This is attributed to the buffer effect that biota has on nitrate concentrations in the Fuirosos alluvial zone, which retards its delivery in relation to the Grimola catchment.
[cat] "Efecte de les pluges en la dinàmica del nitrogen en una riera intermitent i mediterrània". La quantitat de nitrogen dissolt que arriba avui dia als nostres rius i aqüífers és substancialment major a la de fa un parell de dècades a resultes de l'activitat antròpica. Aquest fet ha estimulat força la recerca dels processos relacionats amb el ciclatge del nitrogen, amb la intenció d'esbrinar la capacitat que tenen els ecosistemas terrestres i aquàtics per controlar les càrregues de nitrat que els hi arriben. Alguns d'aquests estudis indiquen que durant les tempestes s'altera de forma substancial la química de l'aigua del riu. Això no obstant, la major part dels treballs realitzats es recolzen en un nombre limitat d'episodis, donada la dificultat inherent al mostreig intensiu de camp a l'hora d'estudiar les respostes hidrològiques i la dinàmica dels soluts durant les crescudes. Tradicionalment, la comunitat científica s'ha dedicat a l'estudi dels processos hidrobiogeoquímics de regions temperades i tropicals, i desafortunadament, les conques Mediterrànies no han estat objecte de la seva atenció. Estudis recents alerten de la fragilitat de les regions Mediterrànies enfront del canvi global, i per tant, urgeixen els estudis focalitzats en aquests ecosistemes. El principal objectiu d'aquesta tesi ha estat l'estudi de la variabilitat de la dinàmica dels nutrients, en particular del nitrogen, durant les crescudes en relació a la seva dinàmica en condicions de cabal basal en una riera intermitent, Fuirosos, en una conca Mediterrània. La hidrologia i la dinàmica dels soluts a la riera de Fuirosos s'ha comparat amb les de la Grimola, un dels seus efluents més importants. Hi ha diferències litològiques notables entre les dues conques. A més la riera de Fuirosos té zona al.luvial i està flanquejada per un bosc de ribera ben desenvolupat, mentre que la riera de Grimola no té zona al.luvial ni tampoc una zona riberenca ben diferenciada. Per tant, els efectes de (i) la mida de la conca, (ii) la litologia, i (iii) la presència d'una zona al.luvial i riberenca sobre la hidrobiogeoquímica d'un riu, van poder ésser contrastats comparant les rieres de Fuirosos i Grimola. L'estudi es va realitzar al Parc Natural del Montnegre-Corredor al Vallès Oriental entre els anys 1998 i 2004.
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/2445/35305
ISBN: 9788469065594
Appears in Collections:Tesis Doctorals - Departament - Ecologia

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01.SBB_Introduction_and_Study_site.pdf1.48 MBAdobe PDFView/Open
02.SBB_Part_I.pdf1.56 MBAdobe PDFView/Open
03.SBB_Part_II.pdf1.72 MBAdobe PDFView/Open


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