Browsing by Subject "Nitrogen cycling"

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  • El-Khaled, Yusuf C.; Nafeh, Rassil; Roth, Florian; Rädecker, Nils; Karcher, Denis B.; Jones, Burton H.; Voolstra, Christian R.; Wild, Christian (2021)
    Nitrogen cycling in coral reefs may be affected by nutrient availability, but knowledge about concentrationdependent thresholds that modulate dinitrogen fixation and denitrification is missing. We determined the effects of different nitrate concentrations (ambient, 1, 5, 10 mu M nitrate addition) on both processes under two light scenarios (i.e., light and dark) using a combined acetylene assay for two common benthic reef substrates, i.e., turf algae and coral rubble. For both substrates, dinitrogen fixation rates peaked at 5 mu M nitrate addition in light, whereas denitrification was highest at 10 mu M nitrate addition in the dark. At 10 mu m nitrate addition in the dark, a near-complete collapse of dinitrogen fixation concurrent with a 76-fold increase in denitrification observed for coral rubble, suggesting potential threshold responses linked to the nutritional state of the community. We conclude that dynamic nitrogen cycling activity may help stabilise nitrogen availability in microbial communities associated with coral reef substrates.
  • Karcher, Denis B.; Roth, Florian; Carvalho, Susana; El-Khaled, Yusuf C.; Tilstra, Arjen; Kürten, Benjamin; Struck, Ulrich; Jones, Burton H.; Wild, Christian (2020)
    While various sources increasingly release nutrients to the Red Sea, knowledge about their effects on benthic coral reef communities is scarce. Here, we provide the first comparative assessment of the response of all major benthic groups (hard and soft corals, turf algae and reef sands-together accounting for 80% of the benthic reef community) to in-situ eutrophication in a central Red Sea coral reef. For 8 weeks, dissolved inorganic nitrogen (DIN) concentrations were experimentally increased 3-fold above environmental background concentrations around natural benthic reef communities using a slow release fertilizer with 15% total nitrogen (N) content. We investigated which major functional groups took up the available N, and how this changed organic carbon (C-org) and N contents using elemental and stable isotope measurements. Findings revealed that hard corals (in their tissue), soft corals and turf algae incorporated fertilizer N as indicated by significant increases in delta N-15 by 8%, 27% and 28%, respectively. Among the investigated groups, C-org content significantly increased in sediments (+24%) and in turf algae (+33%). Altogether, this suggests that among the benthic organisms only turf algae were limited by N availability and thus benefited most from N addition. Thereby, based on higher C-org content, turf algae potentially gained competitive advantage over, for example, hard corals. Local management should, thus, particularly address DIN eutrophication by coastal development and consider the role of turf algae as potential bioindicator for eutrophication.
  • Asmala, Eero; Gustafsson, Camilla; Krause-Jensen, Dorte; Norkko, Alf; Reader, Heather; Staehr, Peter A.; Carstensen, Jacob (2019)
    Coastal ecosystems act as filters of nutrients from land to the open sea. We investigated the role of eelgrass (Zostera marina) metabolism in the coastal filter transforming nitrogen, phosphorus, and organic carbon. Field campaigns following identical methodologies were carried out at two contrasting coastal locations: the mesohaline and nutrient-rich Roskilde Fjord, Denmark, and the mesotrophic brackish Tvärminne archipelago, Finland. Over the 24-h in situ benthic incubations, we measured oxygen concentrations continuously and assessed changes in DOM characteristics and net fluxes of carbon, nitrogen, and phosphorus. Ecosystem metabolism modeled on the basis of the O2 data showed that the systems were either net heterotrophic (Roskilde Fjord; − 1.6 and − 2.4 g O2 m−2 day−1 in eelgrass meadow and bare sand, respectively) or had balanced primary production and respiration (Tvärminne; 0.0 and 0.2 g O2 m−2 day−1). Overall, initial nutrient stoichiometry was a key factor determining benthic–pelagic fluxes of nutrients, which exacerbated the deviations from Redfield ratios of N and P, indicating an efficient use of the limiting nutrient. A net diel uptake of dissolved inorganic N was observed at both locations (− 2.3 μmol l−1 day−1 in Roskilde Fjord and − 0.1 μmol l−1 day−1 in Tvärminne). Despite minor changes in dissolved organic carbon concentrations during the incubations, a marked increase of fluorescent DOM was observed at both locations, suggesting rapid heterotrophic processing of the DOM pool. Our results underline that the biogeochemical role of eelgrass in the coastal filter is not inherent, but strongly dependent on the environmental conditions.