Nitrogen release from surface sand of a high energy beach along the southeastern coast of North Carolina, USA
Avery, G. Brooks Jr. | Kieber, Robert J. | Taylor, Kelly J.
This study examined changes in dissolved organic nitrogen (DON) and dissolved inorganic nitrogen (DIN) in coastal seawater after exposure to sand along a high energy beach face over an annual cycle between April 2004 and July 2005. Dissolved organic nitrogen, NO₃ ⁻, and NH₄ ⁺ were released from sand to seawater in laboratory incubation experiments clearly demonstrating that they are a potential source of N to underlying groundwater or coastal seawater. DON increases in seawater, after exposure to surface sands in laboratory experiments, were positively correlated with in situ water column DON concentrations measured at the same time as sand collection. Increase in NO₃ ⁻ and NH₄ ⁺ were not correlated with their in situ concentrations. This suggests that DON released from beach sands is relatively more recalcitrant while NO₃ ⁻ and NH₄ ⁺ are utilized rapidly in the coastal ocean. The release of N was seasonal with carbon to nitrogen ratios indicating that recent primary productivity was responsible for the largest fluxes in summer while more degraded humic material contributed to lower fluxes in winter. Fluxes of total dissolved nitrogen (DON and DIN) from surface sand (2.1 x 10⁻⁴ mol m⁻² h⁻¹) were similar to that of groundwater and more than an order of magnitude larger than rain deposition indicating the potential importance of surface sand derived nitrogen to the coastal zone with a corresponding impact on primary productivity.Show more [+] Less [-]