Browsing by Subject "Nutrient cycling"

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  • 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.
  • Villnäs, Anna; Janas, Urzsula; Josefson, Alf B.; Kendzierska, Halina; Nygård, Henrik; Norkko, Joanna; Norkko, Alf (2019)
    Benthic macrofaunal communities have a profound impact on organic matter turnover and nutrient cycling in marine sediments. Their activities are of particular importance in the coastal filter, where nutrients and organic matter from land are transformed and/or retained before reaching the open sea. The benthic fauna modify the coastal filter directly (through consumption, respiration, excretion and biomass production) and indirectly (through bioturbation). It is hard to experimentally quantify faunal contribution to the coastal filter over large spatial and temporal scales that encompass significant environmental and biological heterogeneity. However, estimates can be obtained with biological trait analyses. By using benthic biological traits, we explored how the potential contribution of macrofaunal communities to the coastal filter differ between inner and outer sites in an extensive archipelago area and examine the generality of the observed pattern across contrasting coastal areas of the entire Baltic Sea. Estimates of benthic bioturbation, longevity and size (i.e. ‘stability’) and total energy and nutrient contents differed between coastal areas and inner versus outer sites. Benthic traits indicative of an enhanced nutrient turnover but a decreased capacity for temporal nutrient retention dominated inner sites, while outer sites were often dominated by larger individuals, exhibiting traits that are likely to enhance nutrient uptake and retention. The overarching similarities in benthic trait expression between more eutrophied inner vs. less affected outer coastal sites across the Baltic Sea suggest that benthic communities might contribute in a similar manner to nutrient recycling and retention in the coastal filter over large geographical scales.
  • Norkko, Joanna; Pilditch, Conrad A.; Gammal, Johanna; Rosenberg, Rutger; Enemar, Arvid; Magnussond, Marina; Granberg, Maria E.; Lindgren, J. Fredrik; Agrenius, Stefan; Norkko, Alf (2019)
    Marine ecosystems world-wide are threatened by oxygen deficiency, with potential serious consequences for ecosystem functioning and the goods and services they provide. While the effects of hypoxia on benthic species diversity are well documented, the effects on ecosystem function have only rarely been assessed in real-world settings. To better understand the links between structural changes in macro- and meiofaunal communities, hypoxic stress and benthic ecosystem function (benthic nutrient fluxes, community metabolism), we sampled a total of 11 sites in Haystensfjord and Askerofjord (Swedish west coast) in late summer, coinciding with the largest extent and severity of seasonal hypoxia in the area. The sites spanned oxic to anoxic bottom water, and a corresponding gradient in faunal diversity. Intact sediment cores were incubated to measure fluxes of oxygen and nutrients (NO3-, NO2-, NH4+, PO43-, SiO4) across the sediment-water interface. Sediment profile imaging (SPI) footage was obtained from all sites to assess structural elements and the bioturbadon depth, and additional samples were collected to characterise sediment properties and macro- and meiofaunal community composition. Bottom-water O-2 concentration was the main driver of macrofauna communities, with highest abundance and biomass, as well as variability, at the sites with intermediate O-2 concentration. Meiofauna on the other hand was less sensitive to bottom-water O-2 concentration. Oxygen was the main driver of nutrient fluxes too, but macrofauna as well meiofauna were also significant predictors; DistLM analyses indicated that O-2 concentration, macrofaunal abundance or biomass, and meiofaunal abundance collectively explained 63%, 30% and 28% of the variation in sediment O-2 consumption, NH4+ flux and PO43+ flux, respectively. The study provides a step towards a more realistic understanding of the link between benthic fauna and ecosystem functioning, and the influence of disturbance on this relationship, which is important for management decisions aimed at protecting the dwindling biodiversity in the coastal zones around the world.
  • Ge, Jielin; Berg, Bjorn; Xie, Zongqiang (2017)
    Leaf habit of tree species (evergreen versus deciduous) is proposed to be an important determinant of leaf litter decomposition, but it remains largely understudied as to how climatic regulation of litter decomposition differs between leaf habits. We isolated the relative role of climate and leaf habit in leaf litter decomposition by investigating the latitudinal pattern of leaf litter decomposition for Chinese broad-leaved tree species. Litter decomposition rate decreased with latitude, which was largely driven by mean annual temperature (MAT). Evergreen and deciduous broad-leaved tree species shared similar decomposition rate where they coexisted. Leaf litter decomposition of evergreen broad-leaved tree species was more sensitive to MAT than that of the deciduous species, whereas leaf litter decomposition of the deciduous trees was more sensitive than that of the evergreen to mean annual precipitation. Climatic variables explained more variation in leaf litter decomposition than did leaf habit alone. Our findings support the conventional paradigm that climate is a dominant regulator of leaf litter decomposition over broad geographical scales, notwithstanding recent studies calling into question this paradigm. While leaf habit alone does not predict leaf litter decomposition very well where both evergreen and deciduous species coexisted, the direction and strength of shift in leaf litter decomposition diverged between leaf habits across the climatic gradient. These findings underscore the urgent need to consider the impacts of changes in leaf habits when predicting leaf litter decomposition in response to climate change.
  • Seleiman, Mahmoud; Santanen, Arja; Mäkelä, Pirjo (2020)
    Background: Digested sludge is a good source of plant nutrients. However, depending on the feedstock, it might contain heavy metals, metalloids, organic compounds, pathogens, and pharmaceuticals, which can cause adverse effects on crop growth and contaminate the groundwater, soil, and food chain. Scope: The aim of this review is to focus on the potential risks of inorganic and organic contaminants to plant growth, soil, groundwater, and consequently the food chain and environment related to the utilization of digested sludge as a fertilizer on cropland. Conclusions: Inorganic compounds, such as metals and metalloids, in sludge can occasionally cause reductions in soil microbial biomass. In general, the uptake of metals and organic contaminants does not appear to cause a significant hazard to the plants and the concentrations do not surpass the maximum values allowed in soil. Organic compounds, harmful for human health or the environment, are to a large extent decomposed or volatilized from the land treated with sludge, which decreases their leaching into the environment. Many of the organic compounds are lipophilic and can be bound to soil organic matter. In conclusion, the application of sludge on cropland might be a sustainable management practice; however, further investigations are needed to determine the accumulation and persistence of possible hazardous emerging chemicals and pathogens in the environment and formation of harmful intermediate reaction of inorganic and organic compound products.