JMSE, Vol. 3, Pages 466-491: Benthic Nutrient Fluxes from Mangrove Sediments of an Anthropogenically Impacted Estuary in Southern China

Research paper by David Kaiser, Nicole Kowalski, Michael Böttcher, Bing Yan, Daniela Unger

Indexed on: 14 May '16Published on: 23 Jun '15Published in: Journal of Marine Science and Engineering


Mangroves serve as either sinks or sources for inorganic and organic nutrients and can mitigate anthropogenic nutrient pollution, control the production in adjacent systems, and prevent eutrophication. To better understand the nutrient dynamics in a subtropical mangrove, we employed a three-way approach in the Nanliu River Estuary, southern China: Pore water profiles and sediment incubations revealed benthic early diagenesis as well as sediment–water exchange of dissolved nutrients and oxygen, while tidal sampling of estuarine and mangrove water identified source and sink functions of the entire mangrove forest. Fluxes of oxygen during incubations were always directed into the sediment, indicating heterotrophy of the system. There was a net uptake of dissolved inorganic nitrogen, mainly caused by nitrate influx, while ammonium and nitrite showed variable flux direction. Despite high pore water concentrations, phosphate and silica showed net uptake. Fluxes of dissolved organic carbon were generally low except for high efflux in the dark following a storm event. Due to the combination of small forest area and strong anthropogenic nutrient input, the net sink function for dissolved nitrogen and phosphorus provides no significant buffer against the eutrophication of coastal waters.