In the shallow environment, the nutrient and carbon exchanges at the sediment–water interface contribute significantly to determine the trophic status of the whole water column. The intensity of the allochthonous input in a coastal environment subjected to strong anthropogenic pressures determines an increase in the benthic oxygen demand leading to depressed oxygen levels in the bottom waters. Anoxic conditions resulting from organic enrichment can enhance the exchange of nutrients between sediments and the overlying water. In the present study, carbon and nutrient fluxes at the sediment–water interface were measured at two experimental sites, one highly and one moderately contaminated, as reference point. In situ benthic flux measurements of dissolved species (O2, DIC, DOC, N-NO3−, N-NO2−, N-NH4+, P-PO43−, Si-Si(OH)4, H2S) were conducted using benthic chambers. Furthermore, undisturbed sediment cores were collected for analyses of total and organic C, total N, and biopolymeric carbon (carbohydrates, proteins, and lipids) as well as of dissolved species in porewaters and supernatant in order to calculate the diffusive fluxes. The sediments were characterized by suboxic to anoxic conditions with redox values more negative in the highly contaminated site, which was also characterized by higher biopolymeric carbon content (most of all lipids), lower C/N ratios and generally higher diffusive fluxes, which could result in a higher release of contaminants. A great difference was observed between diffusive and in situ benthic fluxes suggesting the enhancing of fluxes by bioturbation and the occurrence of biogeochemically important processes at the sediment–water interface. The multi-contamination of both inorganic and organic pollutants, in the sediments of the Mar Piccolo of Taranto (declared SIN in 1998), potentially transferable to the water column and to the aquatic trophic chain, is of serious concern for its ecological relevance, also considering the widespread fishing and mussel farming activities in the area.

Oxygen, carbon, and nutrient exchanges at the sediment–water interface in the Mar Piccolo of Taranto (Ionian Sea, southern Italy)

DE VITTOR, CINZIA;RELITTI, FEDERICA;KRALJ, MARTINA;COVELLI, STEFANO;EMILI, ANDREA
2016

Abstract

In the shallow environment, the nutrient and carbon exchanges at the sediment–water interface contribute significantly to determine the trophic status of the whole water column. The intensity of the allochthonous input in a coastal environment subjected to strong anthropogenic pressures determines an increase in the benthic oxygen demand leading to depressed oxygen levels in the bottom waters. Anoxic conditions resulting from organic enrichment can enhance the exchange of nutrients between sediments and the overlying water. In the present study, carbon and nutrient fluxes at the sediment–water interface were measured at two experimental sites, one highly and one moderately contaminated, as reference point. In situ benthic flux measurements of dissolved species (O2, DIC, DOC, N-NO3−, N-NO2−, N-NH4+, P-PO43−, Si-Si(OH)4, H2S) were conducted using benthic chambers. Furthermore, undisturbed sediment cores were collected for analyses of total and organic C, total N, and biopolymeric carbon (carbohydrates, proteins, and lipids) as well as of dissolved species in porewaters and supernatant in order to calculate the diffusive fluxes. The sediments were characterized by suboxic to anoxic conditions with redox values more negative in the highly contaminated site, which was also characterized by higher biopolymeric carbon content (most of all lipids), lower C/N ratios and generally higher diffusive fluxes, which could result in a higher release of contaminants. A great difference was observed between diffusive and in situ benthic fluxes suggesting the enhancing of fluxes by bioturbation and the occurrence of biogeochemically important processes at the sediment–water interface. The multi-contamination of both inorganic and organic pollutants, in the sediments of the Mar Piccolo of Taranto (declared SIN in 1998), potentially transferable to the water column and to the aquatic trophic chain, is of serious concern for its ecological relevance, also considering the widespread fishing and mussel farming activities in the area.
http://link.springer.com/article/10.1007%2Fs11356-015-4999-0
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/11368/2846450
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