Cyclical patterns and (im)mobilization mechanisms of phosphorus in sediments from a small creek estuary: Evidence from in situ monthly sampling and indoor experiments.

Affiliation

College of Ocean and Earth Sciences, Xiamen University, Xiamen, 361102, PR China. Electronic address: [Email]

Abstract

Internal phosphorus (P) mobility is crucially important to overlying water ecosystems, while its spatiotemporal variations and mechanisms remain to be studied, especially in dynamic estuarine sediments. In this study, in situ monthly field sampling and indoor experiments were combined to measure the soluble reactive P (SRP), soluble Fe and diffusive gradients in thin films (DGT)-labile P/S in the overlying water, sediment and porewater in the Jiuxi River Estuary by employing high-resolution dialysis (HR-Peeper), the DGT technique and a MicroRhizon sampler. The consistent tendency between DGT-labile S and P in most seasons indicates that P mobilization was dominated by intense dissimilatory sulfate reduction (DSR), causing high SRP concentrations and active exchange with the overlying water. The circannual cyclical pattern of P is summarized, where in addition to temperature, monthly changes in runoff and tidal range are crucial external factors to control long-term P cycling via changed redox environments and terrigenous materials inputs. The mobile P, Fe and S present higher values during flood tides and lower values during ebb tides in tidal simulation experiments, demonstrating that the short-term cycling of P, Fe and S in intertidal surface sediments is highly redox-sensitive and controlled by tidal processes. The results also reveal that DSR greatly facilitates P mobility and release, while sediment oxidation and the induced enhancement in DIR and Fe cycling can effectively control P immobilization.

Keywords

Diffusive gradients in thin films,High-resolution peeper,High-resolution spatiotemporal sampling,Phosphorus mobility,Small creek estuary,Tidal simulation experiment,

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