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Aquatic Ecology

, Volume 53, Issue 4, pp 719–744 | Cite as

Hierarchy of factors controls denitrification rates in temperate intermittently closed and open coastal lakes/lagoons (ICOLLS)

  • Josie A. CrawshawEmail author
  • Marc Schallenberg
  • Candida Savage
  • Robert Van Hale
Article

Abstract

Intermittently closed and open lakes/lagoons (ICOLLs) can occur in alternate stable states: clear and turbid, with nitrogen inputs from high-intensity agricultural land use often fuelling phytoplankton growth in ICOLLs. Due to their limited water exchange, ICOLLs are particularly susceptible to eutrophication. In these environments, denitrification may remove a substantial proportion of the land-derived nitrogen load, reducing their vulnerability to eutrophication; however, the factors that influence denitrification in ICOLLs are poorly understood. In this study, we addressed the relative importance of physico-chemical and biotic factors related to nitrate-saturated denitrification rates (including temperature, nutrient/organic matter supply, oxygen conditions, sediment type and benthic macroinvertebrates) in two eutrophic ICOLL ecosystems: one supports some submerged macrophytes, while the other is in a persistent, turbid, phytoplankton-dominated system. Flexible in situ enclosures and denitrification enzyme assay measurements were employed to determine denitrification rates in response to new nitrate pulses, which are commonly observed in these systems. In situ denitrification rates were inhibited in both ICOLLs in winter, whereas in summer they were positively correlated with organic matter availability. Denitrification rates were greater in the shallow, marginal sediments of the ICOLLs. Bioturbating macrofauna significantly enhanced in situ sediment oxygenation and probably transported sediment organic carbon and nitrate simultaneously to sites of denitrification at the sediment oxic–anoxic interface. Our study found that nitrate-saturated sediment denitrification rates were controlled by a hierarchy of temporally and spatially structured physico-chemical and biotic factors in the following order of importance: temperature → organic matter availability → water depth → bioturbation.

Keywords

Nitrogen cycling Isotope pairing Denitrification enzyme activity Bioturbation Oxygen penetration depth (OPD) 

Notes

Acknowledgements

J.C. was supported by a University of Otago PhD Scholarship and additional research money from the Brenda Shore Award (University of Otago), the New Zealand Coastal Society (Masters Scholarship) and the Hutton Fund (Royal Society of New Zealand). M.S. was also supported by a subcontract from the National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research (NIWA; C01X1005). We thank T. Davie from the Canterbury Regional Council and also the Whakaora Te Waihora Board for supporting this work and Environment Canterbury for sharing their water quality data from Lake Ellesmere with us. A. Santoso and D. Hamilton at the Environmental Research Institute, University of Waikato, ran the denitrification enzyme assays. N. McHugh (University of Otago Zoology Department) kindly carried out the nutrient samples. Finally, we thank A. Innes and the Tomahawk Lagoon Citizen Science Team for providing nitrate concentration time-series data for Tomahawk Lagoon. We thank the anonymous reviewers whose comments have enhanced the quality of this manuscript.

Supplementary material

10452_2019_9721_MOESM1_ESM.docx (2 mb)
Supplementary material 1 (DOCX 2011 kb)

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Copyright information

© Springer Nature B.V. 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Marine ScienceUniversity of OtagoDunedinNew Zealand
  2. 2.Bay of Plenty Regional Council Toi MoanaTaurangaNew Zealand
  3. 3.Department of ZoologyUniversity of OtagoDunedinNew Zealand
  4. 4.School of Biological Sciences and Marine Research Institute (MaRE)University of Cape TownCape TownSouth Africa
  5. 5.Department of ChemistryUniversity of OtagoDunedinNew Zealand

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