Impact of long-term water level fluctuation on the distribution, transport, and fate of phosphorus in reservoir sediment

  • Huijuan Yu
  • Shiguo XuEmail author
  • Wen Tian
  • Lin Zhu
  • Ya Sun
Research Article


Water level fluctuation zone (WLFZ) with changeable environmental conditions would affect the transport and release of nutrients in the sediment. To investigate the influence of long-term water level fluctuations on sediment phosphorus (P), a reservoir sediment partitioning method based on historical water level was developed and applied in the Biliuhe Reservoir. The reservoir sediment was divided into frequent fluctuation zone (FFZ), fluctuation zone of continuous droughts (DFZ), and continuously submerged zone (CSZ). Sediment cores in different zones were collected and P was analyzed. TP content in the surface sediment progressively increased from FFZ, DFZ, to CSZ except the 0–10-cm samples of D1, and TP content of sediment cores increased gradually with decreasing depth except D1 core. Ferric iron-bound P (Fe-P) and organic P (OP) exhibited uniform spatial variation with TP, while no clear patterns were found with regard to the other forms. Fe-P composed most of TP (54.67 ± 10.15%) and had a significant positive correlation with stable OP (5.55 ± 2.07%). The contributions of Fe-P, detrital apatite P (Det-P), and OP are stable among the four cores, indicating that the relationship between the various P forms is relatively stable despite variations in environmental conditions of WLFZ. The alternation of deposition and erosion under long-term water level fluctuation can promote P transport down-flow, which can be prevented by the continuous growth of plants in WLFZ. Thus, the reasonable use of the plant growth in WLFZ can control the P load of the reservoir.


Reservoir Water-deficient area Water level fluctuation zone Sediment partitioning Sediment core Phosphorus fractions 



The authors appreciate the team members from Water and Environmental Research Institute for their necessary assistance in collecting samples.

Funding information

This study was financially supported by the National Key Research and Development Program of China (2016YFC0400903) and the National Natural Science Foundation of China (Grant Nos. 51879031, 51327004).

Supplementary material

11356_2019_6415_MOESM1_ESM.doc (366 kb)
ESM 1 (DOC 365 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Huijuan Yu
    • 1
  • Shiguo Xu
    • 1
    Email author
  • Wen Tian
    • 1
  • Lin Zhu
    • 1
  • Ya Sun
    • 1
  1. 1.Faculty of Infrastructure EngineeringDalian University of TechnologyDalianChina

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