Browsing by Subject "Nitrogen"

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  • Azam, Gausul (Helsingin yliopisto, 2020)
    Dog activities (urination and defecation) can be a source of nitrogen accumulation in the snowpack of urban parks. Urban parks are commonly visited by urban residents and excessive buildup of nitrogen in snowpack can be a health concern. This accumulation of nitrogen in snowpack may wash away during spring with the runoff of melting snow, which can cause the eutrophication and deterioration of lake ecosystems. In this study, I investigated the concentration of some nitrogen-related compounds along with a few physical parameters in the snowpack of urban parks and compared these between areas with high dog activities and areas with no dog activities. I hypothesized that, nitrogen concentrations will be higher in areas with high dog activities, like snowpack beside paths than in areas with no dog activities. The study was performed in 10 parks of two cities in Finland; Helsinki and Lahti. In these parks, samples were collected from snowpack immediately next to walking paths (path edge), and in control areas 8 m away from these paths, where dogs were unlikely to visit. Samples were collected from February to April of 2019. The concentration nitrogen from snow samples of both parts of parks were compared. The study showed that, the concentration of most nitrogen species, e.g. Total Nitrogen (TN), ammonium (NH4+), Total Organic Nitrogen (TON), and electrical conductivity followed a similar pattern of having higher values in snow from path edges where dog activities were the highest. However, the concentration of NO3 – and pH values were both slightly lower in the path edge samples compared to control areas undisturbed by dogs, but differences were not statistically significant. Information from this study can be useful for understanding the connection between dog activities and nitrogen build up in snowpack of urban parks, and can also be helpful for designing urban parks by considering environmental and health effects of nitrogen accumulation in the snow from dog activities. My findings can also be useful to urban waterbody related studies, e.g. eutrophication, and the accumulation of nutrients in lakes.
  • Angove, Charlotte; Norkko, Alf; Gustafsson, Camilla (2018)
    Aquatic plant meadows are valuable components to the 'coastal filter' and it is important to understand the processes that drive their ability to cycle nutrients. However, at present, the field-based evidence for understanding the drivers of nutrient uptake by plants is lacking. This study aimed to investigate how well individual shoots of aquatic plants could meet their nitrogen demands using the sediment nutrient pool (porewater ammonium) and to explore which traits helped to facilitate such uptake. Several species were investigated in shallow, submerged (2-4 m) mixed-species communities in the northern Baltic Sea using incubation experiments with enriched ammonium. After a 3.5 h incubation time, individuals were collected and analysed for nitrogen (% DW) and N-15 (at-%) concentrations. Uptake by plants was calculated per unit nitrogen in response to the N-15 labelled source and to overall nitrogen availability. Background porewater ammonium availability was highly variable between individual plants. Species identity did not significantly affect uptake metrics and the effect of ambient porewater availability was weak. As biomass increased there were significant logarithmic declines in the 95th quantiles of nutrient uptake rates, ambient porewater nutrient availability and aboveground nitrogen tissue concentrations (% DW). Such findings suggested that uptake rates of plants were significantly demand driven and the nutrient conditions of the porewater were significantly driven by the demands of the plant. Findings parameterised the unfulfilled potential for some aquatic plants to cycle nutrients more efficiently and highlighted the potential importance of access to new nutrient sources as a way of enhancing nutrient cycling by aquatic plants. Plant traits and community properties such as the activity of infauna could facilitate such an access and are likely important for nutrient uptake.
  • Luoto, Tomi P.; Rantala, Marttiina V.; Kivila, E. Henriikka; Nevalainen, Liisa; Ojala, Antti E. K. (2019)
    Lakes are a dominant feature of the Arctic landscape and a focal point of regional and global biogeochemical cycling. We collected a sediment core from a High Arctic Lake in southwestern Svalbard for multiproxy paleolimnological analysis. The aim was to find linkages between the terrestrial and aquatic environments in the context of climate change to understand centennial-long Arctic biogeochemical cycling and environmental dynamics. Two significant thresholds in elemental cycling were found based on sediment physical and biogeochemical proxies that were associated with the end of the cold Little Ice Age and the recent warming. We found major shifts in diatom, chironomid and cladoceran communities and their functionality that coincided with increased summer temperatures since the 1950s. We also discovered paleoecological evidence that point toward expanded bird (Little Auk) colonies in the catchment alongside climate warming. Apparently, climate-driven increase in glacier melt water delivery as well as a prolonged snow- and ice-free period have increased the transport of mineral matter from the catchment, causing significant water turbidity and disappearance of several planktonic diatoms and clear-water chironomids. We also found sedimentary accumulation of microplastic particles following the increase in Little Auk populations suggesting that seabirds potentially act as biovectors for plastic contamination. Our study demonstrates the diverse nature of climate-driven changes in the Arctic lacustrine environment with increased inorganic input from the more exposed catchment, larger nutrient delivery from the increased bird colonies at the surrounding mountain summits and subsequent alterations in aquatic communities.
  • Jansson, Torbjörn; Andersen, Hans Estrup; Hasler, Berit; Höglind, Lisa; Gustafsson, Bo G. (2019)
    In this study, quantitative models of the agricultural sector and nutrient transport and cycling are used to analyse the impacts in the Baltic Sea of replacing the current Greening measures of the EU’s Common Agricultural Policy with a package of investments in manure handling. The investments aim at improving nutrient utilization and reducing nitrogen leaching, based on the assumption that lagging farms and regions can catch up with observed good practice. Our results indicate that such investments could reduce nitrogen surpluses in agriculture by 18% and nitrogen concentrations in the Baltic Sea by 1 to 9% depending on the basin. The Greening measures, in contrast, are found to actually increase nitrogen leaching.
  • Hellemann, Dana; Tallberg, Petra Astrid Sofia; Bartl, Ines; Voss, Maren; Hietanen, Siru Susanna (2017)
    Estuaries are often seen as natural filters of riverine nitrate, but knowledge of this nitrogen sink in oligotrophic systems is limited. We measured spring and summer dinitrogen production (denitrification, anammox) in muddy and non-permeable sandy sediments of an oligotrophic estuary in the northern Baltic Sea, to estimate its function in mitigating the riverine nitrate load. Both sediment types had similar denitrification rates, and no anammox was detected. In spring at high nitrate loading, denitrification was limited by likely low availability of labile organic carbon. In summer, the average denitrification rate was similar to 138 mu mol N m(-2) d(-1). The corresponding estuarine nitrogen removal for August was similar to 1.2 t, of which similar to 93% was removed by coupled nitrification-denitrification. Particulate matter in the estuary was mainly phytoplankton derived (> 70% in surface waters) and likely based on the riverine nitrate which was not removed by direct denitrification due to water column stratification. Subsequently settling particles served as a link be tween the otherwise uncoupled nitrate in surface waters and benthic nitrogen removal. We suggest that the riverine nitrate brought into the oligotrophic estuary during the spring flood is gradually, and with a time delay, removed by benthic denitrification after being temporarily ` trapped' in phytoplankton particulate matter. The oligotrophic system is not likely to face eutrophication from increasing nitrogen loading due to phosphorus limitation. In response, coupled nitrification-denitrification rates are likely to stay constant, which might increase the future export of nitrate to the open sea and decrease the estuary's function as a nitrogen sink relative to the load.
  • Silfver, Tarja; Kontro, Merja; Paaso, Ulla; Karvinen, Heini; Keski-Saari, Sarita; Keinanen, Markku; Rousi, Matti; Mikola, Juha (2018)
    Background and aims Differences among plant genotypes can influence ecosystem functioning such as the rate of litter decomposition. Little is known, however, of the strength of genotypic links between litter quality, microbial abundance and litter decomposition within plant populations, or the likelihood that these processes are driven by natural selection. Methods We used 19 Betula pendula genotypes randomly selected from a local population in south-eastern Finland to establish a long-term, 35-month litter decomposition trial on forest ground. We analysed the effect of litter quality (N, phenolics and triterpenoids) of senescent leaves and decomposed litter on microbial abundance and litter mass loss. Results We found that while litter quality and mass loss both had significant genotypic variation, the genotypic variation among silver birch trees in the quantity of bacterial and fungal DNA was marginal. In addition, although the quantity of bacterial DNA at individual tree level was negatively associated with most secondary metabolites of litter and positively with litter N, litter chemistry was not genotypically linked to litter mass loss. Conclusions Contrary to our expectations, these results suggest that natural selection may have limited influence on overall microbial DNA and litter decomposition rate in B. pendula populations by reworking the genetically controlled foliage chemistry of these populations.
  • McCrackin, Michelle L.; Gustafsson, Bo G.; Hong, Bongghi; Howarth, Robert W.; Humborg, Christoph; Savchuk, Oleg P.; Svanback, Annika; Swaney, Dennis P. (2018)
    While progress has been made in reducing external nutrient inputs to the Baltic Sea, further actions are needed to meet the goals of the Baltic Sea Action Plan (BSAP), especially for the Baltic Proper, Gulf of Finland, and Gulf of Riga sub-basins. We used the net anthropogenic nitrogen and phosphorus inputs (NANI and NAPI, respectively) nutrient accounting approach to construct three scenarios of reduced NANI-NAPI. Reductions assumed that manure nutrients were redistributed from areas with intense animal production to areas that focus on crop production and would otherwise import synthetic and mineral fertilizers. We also used the Simple as Necessary Baltic Long Term Large Scale (SANBALTS) model to compare eutrophication conditions for the scenarios to current and BSAP-target conditions. The scenarios suggest that reducing NANI-NAPI by redistributing manure nutrients, together with improving agronomic practices, could meet 54-82% of the N reductions targets (28-43 kt N reduction) and 38-64% P reduction targets (4-6.6 kt P reduction), depending on scenario. SANBALTS output showed that even partial fulfillment of nutrient reduction targets could have ameliorating effects on eutrophication conditions. Meeting BSAP targets will require addressing additional sources, such as sewage. A common approach to apportioning sources to external nutrients loads could enable further assessment of the feasibility of eutrophication management targets.
  • Yli-Halla, Markku; Lötjönen, Timo; Kekkonen, Jarkko; Virtanen, Seija; Marttila, Hannu; Liimatainen, Maarit; Saari, Markus; Mikkola, Jarmo; Suomela, Raija; Joki-Tokola, Erkki (2022)
    The off-site effects of agricultural organic soils include the leaching of N, P, and organic carbon (OC) to watercourses and CO2, CH4, and N2O emissions into the atmosphere. The aim of this study was to quantify how the thickness of organic layers affects these loads. A 19.56-ha experimental field drained by subsurface pipes was established in Ruukki, northwestern Finland. Three plots had a 60–80 cm-thick sedge peat layer and three others had a thickness of 20 cm or less. The drainage pipes lie in mineral soil that, in this field, contains sulfidic material. This study documents the experimental settings and reports on the leaching of substances in the first two years, as well as CO2, CH4 and N2O emissions during eight weeks in one summer. Total N (TN) and OC loads were higher from the thicker peat plots. The mean TN loads during a hydrological year were 15.4 and 9.2 kg ha-1 from the thicker and thinner peat plots, respectively, with organic N representing 36% of TN load. Total P (TP) load averaged 0.27 kg ha-1 yr-1. Dissolved P load represented 63 and 36% of TP in the thicker peat area and only 23 and 13% in the thinner peat area, and was thus increased upon peat thickness. These N and P loads through the subsurface drainage system represented roughly 83% of TN and 64% of TP loads from this field. There were no clear differences in greenhouse gas emissions among the plots during the eight-week monitoring period. Slowly oxidizing sulfide in the subsoil resulted in annual leaching of 147 kg S ha-1, almost ten times that of non-sulfidic soils. Our first results emphasize the effect of the peat thickness on the leaching of substances and warn about considering all organic soils as a single group in environmental assessments.