Spatiotemporal patterns of N.sub.2 fixation in coastal waters derived from rate measurements and remote sensing.

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From: Biogeosciences(Vol. 18, Issue 5)
Publisher: Copernicus GmbH
Document Type: Brief article
Length: 265 words

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Abstract :

Coastal lagoons are important sites for nitrogen (N) removal via sediment burial and denitrification. Blooms of heterocystous cyanobacteria may diminish N retention as dinitrogen (N.sub.2) fixation offsets atmospheric losses via denitrification. We measured N.sub.2 fixation in the Curonian Lagoon, Europe's largest coastal lagoon, to better understand the factors controlling N.sub.2 fixation in the context of seasonal changes in phytoplankton community composition and external N inputs. Temporal patterns in N.sub.2 fixation were primarily determined by the abundance of heterocystous cyanobacteria, mainly Aphanizomenon flos-aquae, which became abundant after the decline in riverine nitrate inputs associated with snowmelt. Heterocystous cyanobacteria dominated the summer phytoplankton community resulting in strong correlations between chlorophyll a (Chl a) and N.sub.2 fixation. We used regression models relating N.sub.2 fixation to Chl a, along with remote-sensing-based estimates of Chl a to derive lagoon-scale estimates of N.sub.2 fixation. N.sub.2 fixation by pelagic cyanobacteria was found to be a significant component of the lagoon's N budget based on comparisons to previously derived fluxes associated with riverine inputs, sediment-water exchange, and losses via denitrification. To our knowledge, this is the first study to derive ecosystem-scale estimates of N.sub.2 fixation by combining remote sensing of Chl a with empirical models relating N.sub.2 fixation rates to Chl a.

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Gale Document Number: GALE|A655465686