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J. Mar. Sci. Eng. 2017, 5(2), 16; doi:10.3390/jmse5020016

Short-Term Nitrogen and Phosphorus Release during the Disturbance of Surface Sediments: A Case Study in an Urbanised Estuarine System (Gold Coast Broadwater, Australia)

1
Griffith School of Engineering, Gold Coast campus, Griffith University, QLD 4222, Australia
2
Catchment Management Unit, Gold Coast City Council, PMB 5042 Gold Coast Mail Centre, QLD 9729, Australia
3
Environmental Futures Centre, Gold Coast campus, Griffith University, QLD 4222, Australia
Present address: RPS APASA Pty Ltd, P.O. Box 5692 Gold Coast Mail Centre, QLD 9726, Australia
Present address: Centre for Tropical Water and Aquatic Ecosystem Research (TropWATER), James Cook University, QLD 4811, Australia
§
Present address: Monash Sustainability Institute, Monash University, VIC 3168, Australia
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Olivier Radakovitch
Received: 16 January 2017 / Revised: 14 March 2017 / Accepted: 4 April 2017 / Published: 7 April 2017
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Abstract

Understanding the effects of sediment disturbances on nutrient loadings is important for the management of estuarine settings. This study investigated the initial influence of sediment disturbance on water column nutrient concentrations in a shallow estuarine setting within the Gold Coast Broadwater, using a laboratory-based approach. Undisturbed sediment cores (200 mm Ø × 330 mm length, plexiglass) were incubated before and after being subjected to a disturbance event, to investigate the effect on the immediate and subsequent short-term water column nutrient concentrations. Sediment NH4+bio and PO43−bio concentrations ranged from 150 to 478 and 1.50 to 8.56 nmol g−1 dry wt, respectively. Water column NH4+ concentrations underwent the greatest increase (>1000% or approx. 14 times greater) immediately following disturbance, with mean effluxes increasing by >300%. Thereafter, water column NH4+ concentrations and efflux rates declined to near initial pre-disturbance concentrations. Water column NH4+ concentrations accounted for 0.58%–5.50% of the depth-integrated sediment NH4+bio concentration, indicating mobilization of the sediment bound exchangeable NH4+. The observed changes in PO43− concentrations and fluxes were much lower in comparison to those observed for N-species. Following disturbance, increases in the water column PO43− concentration accounted for 7.16%–8.22% depth-integrated sediment bioavailable PO43− at +1 and +2 hours, and 5.65% at +7 hours, respectively. These results provide important insight into the potential implications of disturbance events, such as vessel activities and dredging operations, within the case study region, providing information for potential management options and relevant water quality concerns. View Full-Text
Keywords: nutrients; sediment disturbance; water quality nutrients; sediment disturbance; water quality
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MDPI and ACS Style

Dunn, R.J.; Waltham, N.J.; Teasdale, P.R.; Robertson, D.; Welsh, D.T. Short-Term Nitrogen and Phosphorus Release during the Disturbance of Surface Sediments: A Case Study in an Urbanised Estuarine System (Gold Coast Broadwater, Australia). J. Mar. Sci. Eng. 2017, 5, 16.

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