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d15N dynamics of ammonium and particulate nitrogen in a temperate eutrophic estuary
De Brabandere, L.; Brion, N.; Elskens, M.; Baeyens, W.; Dehairs, F. (2007). d15N dynamics of ammonium and particulate nitrogen in a temperate eutrophic estuary. Biogeochemistry 82(1): 1-14.
Peer reviewed article  

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    Marine/Coastal; Brackish water
Author keywords
    Ammonium, Fractionation, Scheldt estuary, Stable isotopes

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    We monitored the stable nitrogen isotopic composition (d15N) of suspended matter and ammonium in the freshwater stretch of the Scheldt estuary (Belgium) over a full year to investigate for seasonal evolution and possible co-variation between isotopic signatures. The d15N value of ammonium remained rather constant during winter (average = +11.4‰) but increased significantly with the spring and summer bloom, reaching values as high as +70‰. This enrichment of the ammonium pool in 15N coincided with significant ammonium depletion during summer period, suggesting a close causal relationship. Based on a semi-closed system approach we deduced an apparent fractionation factor associated with NH4+ utilization (i.e. combining effects of uptake and nitrification) of 18.4‰ (SE = 2.0‰), which is similar to values reported in literature. Observed variations of ammonium d15N could account for about 69% of d15N variation in suspended matter.

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