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Biogeochemistry of Estuaries$
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Thomas S. Bianchi

Print publication date: 2006

Print ISBN-13: 9780195160826

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: November 2020

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780195160826.001.0001

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Phosphorus and Silica Cycles

Phosphorus and Silica Cycles

(p.346) Chapter 11 Phosphorus and Silica Cycles
Biogeochemistry of Estuaries

Thomas S. Bianchi

Oxford University Press

Phosphorus (P) is one of the most well-studied nutrients in aquatic ecosystems because of its role in limiting primary production on ecological and geological timescales (van Capellen and Berner, 1989; Holland, 1994; Tyrell, 1999; van Cappellen and Ingall, 1996). Other key linkages to biological systems include the role of P as an essential constituent of genetic material (RNA and DNA) and cellular membranes (phospholipids), as well as in energy-transforming molecules (e.g., ATP, etc.). Consequently, marine P has received considerable attention in recent decades, with particular emphasis on source and sink terms in budgets (Froelich et al., 1982; Meybeck, 1982; Ruttenberg, 1993; Sutula et al., 2004). Excessive loading of N to estuarine waters can result in P limitation in systems that are generally considered to be N limited. In such cases where primary production is limited by P, N:P ratios are expected to exceed the Redfield value of 16:1 but can be replenished by sediment efflux of P due to redox changes. For example, after the initial N loading of a system there will be an increase in primary production, which can cause the system to become P limited. Then, the phytodetritus from these early stages of N loading can be remineralized in sediments resulting in anoxic conditions in surface sediments, which can then enhance P release from sediments to the overlying waters where primary production is once again enhanced. Evidence for the role of sediment-derived P on primary production in estuaries with high N loading has been shown to occur particularly in shallow water systems (Timmons and Price, 1996; Cerco and Seitzinger, 1997). On the other hand, many coastal areas have also been subjected to high P loading from anthropogenic sources, where in some cases inputs of P are 10 to 100 times greater than in preindustrial times (Caraco et al., 1993). In many cases, P and N loading to estuarine systems will occur simultaneously and decoupling or isolating their individual effects can be difficult (e.g., HELCOM, 2001). The cycling and availability of P in estuaries is largely dependent upon P speciation.

Keywords:   dissolved organic P (DOP), particulate organic P (POP), phosphorus, potentially bioavailable P (BAP), silica, soluble reactive P (SRP), total dissolved P (TDP), total particulate P (TPP)

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