Advertisement

Estuaries and Coasts

, Volume 42, Issue 3, pp 655–664 | Cite as

Denitrification Rates Across a Temperate North Pacific Estuary, Yaquina Bay, Oregon

  • A. C. SigleoEmail author
Article

Abstract

The extent and temporal variability of denitrification activity was measured in Yaquina Bay, Oregon, over a year using sediment cores collected approximately monthly from August 2003 through August 2004. Denitrification rates in sediments from a marine-dominated intertidal sand flat near the mouth of the estuary averaged 0.181 ± 0.114 mmol N m−2 day−1, whereas sediments within the estuary and river averaged 0.626 ± 0.141 mmol N m−2 day−1. Sediments from all sites had denitrification rates throughout the year that were within the values reported for other temperate estuaries. Denitrification rates decreased with depth from 0.4 mmol N m−2 day−1 in the upper 2 to 5 cm of sediment to 0.006 mmol N m−2 day−1 at 28 cm sediment depth, indicating that denitrification was greatest in the upper 5 cm. Denitrification rates were lowest in areas with low sediment carbon content, particularly in the sandy intertidal areas at the mouth of the estuary. The results suggested that denitrification rates in this estuary were influenced by the availability of organic carbon (r2 = 0.84). Denitrification removed an estimated 8.7% of the annual Yaquina River nitrate load for August 2003 through August 2004. The relatively low percent lost via denitrification may be due to high river discharge during winter storm events when the nitrate load was greatest and dissolved nitrogen was exported directly from the estuary into the Pacific Ocean. For this reason, a direct relationship between denitrification rate and nitrate concentrations in the overlying water column was not observed. Carbon isotopic data used to investigate the carbon source indicated that δ13C increased from − 27 ‰ in the freshwater river sediments to − 21.5 ‰ δ13C at the seawater site, reflecting a change from terrestrial plant vegetation in the river to phytoplankton carbon sources at the mouth of the estuary. Similar values for δ13C between suspended and benthic sediments suggested that resuspension and mixing occurred frequently during tidal inflow.

Keywords

Denitrification Estuaries Nitrate Nitrogen cycle Oregon coast 

Notes

Acknowledgements

The author is grateful to the Dynamac team for river transport, C. Dudoit and R. Yarwood for assistance in the field and laboratory, and to Professor D. D. Myrold at Oregon State University for allowing the use of his laboratory for denitrification activity analyses. P. Clinton is thanked for preparing maps and providing estimates of estuarine areas. W. Hoffman and W. Frick are thanked for providing guidance on statistical analyses. Professors H. L. Phelps, J. B. Moon, and two anonymous reviewers are thanked for helpful manuscript reviews. The information in this document was funded by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and was reviewed by the Agency. The contents do not necessarily reflect the views of the Agency nor does mention of trade names or commercial products constitute endorsement or recommendation for use.

References

  1. An, S., and W.S. Gardner. 2002. Dissimilatory nitrate reduction to ammonium (DNRA) as a nitrogen link, versus denitrification as a sink in a shallow estuary (Laguna Madre/Baffin Bay, Texas). Marine Ecology Progress Series 237: 41–50.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Argerich, A., R. Haggerty, S.L. Johnson, S.M. Wondzell, N. Dosch, H. Corson-Rikert, L.R. Ashkenas, R. Pennington, and C.K. Thomas. 2016. Comprehensive multiyear carbon budget of a temperate headwater stream. Journal of Geophysical Research: Biogeosciences 121 (5): 1306–1315.Google Scholar
  3. Barnes, J., and N.J.P. Owens. 1998. Denitrification and nitrous oxide concentrations in the Humbler Estuary, UK and adjacent coastal zones. Marine Pollution Bulletin 37: 247–260.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Barth, J.A., S.D. Pierce, and R.L. Smith. 2000. A separating coastal upwelling jet at Cape Blanco, Oregon and its connection to the California Current System. Deep-Sea Research II 47: 83–810.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Bilby, R.E., B.R. Fransen, and P.A. Bisson. 1996. Incorporation of nitrogen and carbon from spawning coho salmon into the trophic system of small streams: evidence from stable isotopes. Canadian Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Science 53 (1): 164–173.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Bosley, K.M., L.A. Copeman, B.R. Dumbauld, and K.L. Bosley. 2017. Identification of burrowing shrimp food sources along an estuarine gradient using fatty acid analysis and stable isotope ratios. Estuaries and Coasts 40 (4): 1113–1130.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Boyer, E.W., C.L. Goodale, N.A. Jaworski, and R.W. Howarth. 2002. Anthropogenic nitrogen sources and relationships to riverine nitrogen export in the northeastern U.S.A. Biogeochemistry 57/58: 137–169.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Brown, C.A., and R.J. Ozretich. 2009. Coupling between the coastal ocean and Yaquina Bay, Oregon: Importance of oceanic inputs relative to other nitrogen sources. Estuaries and Coasts 32 (2): 219–237.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Buchanan, J.B. 1984. Sediment analysis. In Methods for the study of marine benthos, ed. N.A. Holme and A.D. McIntyre, 41–65. Boston: Blackwell Scientific Publications.Google Scholar
  10. Carmichael, R.H., and I. Valiela. 2005. Coupling of near-bottom seston and surface sediment composition: changes with nutrient enrichment and implications for estuarine food supply and biogeochemical processing. Limnology and Oceanography 50 (1): 97–105.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Castro, M.S., C.T. Driscoll, T.E. Jordan, W.G. Reay, and W.R. Boynton. 2003. Sources of nitrogen to estuaries in the United States. Estuaries 26 (3): 803–814.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Childs, C.R., N.N. Rabalais, R.E. Turner, and L.M. Proctor. 2002. Sediment denitrification in the Gulf of Mexico zone of hypoxia. Marine Ecology Progress Series 240: 285–290.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Choi, B. 1975. Pollution and tidal flushing predictions for Oregon’s estuaries. M.S. Thesis, Oregon State University, Corvallis, Oregon.Google Scholar
  14. Coffin, R.B., B. Fry, B.J. Peterson, and R.T. Wright. 1989. Carbon isotopic composition of estuarine bacteria. Limnology and Oceanography 34 (7): 1305–1310.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Colbert, D., and J. McManus. 2003. Nutrient biogeochemistry in an upwelling-influenced estuary of the Pacific Northwest (Tillamook Bay, Oregon, USA). Estuaries 26 (5): 1205–1219.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Compton, J.E., M.R. Church, S.T. Larned, and W.E. Hogsett. 2003. Nitrogen export from forested watersheds in the Oregon coast range: the role of N2-fixing red alder. Ecosystems 6 (8): 773–785.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Cornwell, J.C., P.M. Glibert, and M.S. Owens. 2014. Nutrient fluxes from sediments in the San Francisco Bay Delta. Estuaries and Coasts 37 (5): 1120–1133.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Cortright, R., J. Weber, and R. Bailey. 1987. Oregon estuary plan book. Salem: Oregon Department of Land Conservation and Development.Google Scholar
  19. David, M.B., L.G. Wall, T.V. Royer, and J.L. Tank. 2006. Denitrification and the nitrogen budget of a reservoir in an agricultural landscape. Ecological Applications 16 (6): 2177–2190.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Dettmann, E.H. 2001. Effect of water residence time on annual export and denitrification of nitrogen in estuaries: a model analysis. Estuaries 24 (4): 481–490.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Du, X., and W.T. Peterson. 2014. Seasonal cycle of phytoplankton community composition in the coastal upwelling system off Central Oregon in 2009. Estuaries and Coasts 37 (2): 299–311.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Fear, J.M., S.P. Thompson, T.E. Gallo, and H.P. Paerl. 2005. Denitrification rates measured along a salinity gradient in the eutrophic Neuse River estuary, North Carolina, USA. Estuaries 28 (4): 608–619.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Fry, B., A. Grace, and J.W. McClelland. 2003. Chemical indicators of anthropogenic nitrogen loading in four Pacific estuaries. Pacific Science 57 (1): 77–101.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Goolsby, D.A., W.A. Battaglin, G.B. Lawrence, R.S. Artz, B.T. Aulenbach, and R. P. Hooper. 1999. Flux and sources of nutrients in the Mississippi-Atchafalaya River Basin. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Coastal Ocean Program Decision Analysis Series No. 17. Silver Spring, Maryland.Google Scholar
  25. Gresh, T., J. Lichatowich, and P. Schoonmaker. 2000. An estimation of historic and current levels of salmon production in the Northeast Pacific ecosystem. Fisheries 25: 5–21.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Groffman, P.M., E.A. Holland, D.D. Myrold, G.P. Robertson and X. Zou. 1999. Denitrification. In Standard soil methods for long-term ecological research, ed. G.P. Robertson, D.C. Coleman, C.S. Bledsoe and P. Sollins, 272–288. Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  27. Groffman, P.M., M.A. Altabet, J.K. Bohlke, K. Butterbach-bahl, M.B. David, M.K. Firestone, A.E. Giblin, T.M. Kana, L.P. Nielsen, and M.A. Voytek. 2006. Methods for measuring denitrification: diverse approaches to a difficult problem. Ecological Applications 16 (6): 2091–2122.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Hadwen, W.L., and A.H. Arthington. 2007. Food webs of two intermittently open estuaries receiving 15N-enriched sewage effluent. Estuarine Coastal and Shelf Science 71 (1-2): 347–358.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Holland, E.A., G. P. Robertson, J. Greenberg, P.M. Groffman, R.D. Boone, and J.R.Gosz. 1999. Soil CO2, N2O and CH4 exchange. In Standard soil methods for long-term ecological research, ed. G.P. Robertson, D.C. Coleman, C.S. Bledsoe and P. Sollins, 185–201. Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  30. Kentula, M.E., and T.H. DeWitt. 2003. Abundance of seagrass (Zostera marina L.) and macroalgae in relation to the salinity-temperature gradient in Yaquina Bay, Oregon, USA. Estuaries 26 (4): 1130–1141.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Koyama, A., K. Kavanagh, and A. Robinson. 2005. Marine nitrogen in central Idaho riparian forests: evidence from stable isotopes. Canadian Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Science 62 (3): 518–526.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Lamberson, J. O., M. R. Fraiser, W. G. Nelson, and P. J. Clinton. 2011. Utilization patterns of intertidal habitats by birds in Yaquina Estuary, Oregon. In U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, ORD, National Health and Environmental Effects Research Laboratory, Western Ecology Division, Newport, OR. EPA/600R-11 118p.Google Scholar
  33. Larned, S.T. 2003. Effects of the invasive, nonindigenous seagrass Zostera japonica on on nutrient fluxes between the water column and benthos in a NE Pacific estuary. Marine Ecology Progress Series 254: 69–80.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Lemagie, E.P., and J.A. Lerczak. 2015. A comparison of bulk estuarine turnover timescales to particle tracking timescales using a model of the Yaquina Bay estuary. Estuaries and Coasts 38 (5): 1797–1814.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Mariotti, A., J.C. Germon, P. Hubert, P. Kaiser, R. Letolle, A. Tardieux, and P. Tardieux. 1981. Experimental determination of nitrogen isotope fractionation: some principles; illustration for the denitrification and nitrification processes. Plant and Soil 62 (3): 413–430.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Meengs, C.C., and R.T. Lackey. 2005. Estimating the size of historical Oregon salmon runs. Reviews of Fisheries Science 13 (1): 51–66.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Mulholland, P.J., A.M. Helton, G.C. Poole, R.O. Hall Jr., S.K. Hamilton, B.J. Peterson, J.L. Tank, L.R. Ashkenas, L.W. Cooper, C.N. Dahm, W.K. Dodds, S.E.G. Findlay, S.V. Gregory, N.B. Grimm, S.L. Johnson, W.H. McDowell, J.L. Meyer, H.M. Valett, J.R. Webster, C.P. Arango, J.J. Beaulieu, M.J. Bernot, A.J. Burgin, C.L. Crenshaw, L.T. Johnson, B.R. Niederlehner, J.M. O’Brien, J.D. Potter, R.W. Sheibley, D.J. Sobota, and S.M. Thomas. 2008. Stream denitrification across biomes and its response to anthropogenic nitrate loading. Nature 452 (7184): 202–206.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Noble, I.R., and R. Dirzo. 1997. Forests as human-dominated ecosystems. Science 277 (5325): 522–525.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Nowicki, N.L., E. Requintina, D. Van Keuren, and J.R. Kelly. 1997. Nitrogen losses through sediment denitrification in Boston Harbor and Massachusetts Bay. Estuaries 20 (3): 626–639.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Ohmann, J.L., and M.J. Gregory. 2002. Predictive mapping of forest composition and structure with direct gradient analysis and nearest neighbor imputation in coastal Oregon, USA. Canadian Journal of Forestry Research 32 (4): 725–741.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Owens, N.J.P. 1985. Variations in the natural abundance of 15N in estuarine suspended particulate matter: a specific indicator of biological processing. Estuarine, Coastal and Shelf Science 20 (4): 505–510.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Rich, J.J., and D.D. Myrold. 2004. Community composition and activities of denitrifying bacteria from adjacent agricultural soil, riparian soil, and creek sediment in Oregon, USA. Soil Biology & Biochemistry 36 (9): 1431–1441.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Scheuerell, M.D., P.S. Levin, R.W. Zabel, J.G. Williams, and B.L. Sanderson. 2005. A new perspective on the importance of marine-derived nutrients to threatened stocks of Pacific salmon (Oncorhynchus spp.). Canadian Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Science 62 (5): 961–964.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Seitzinger, S.P., J.A. Harrison, J.K. Bohlke, A.F. Bouman, R. Lowrance, B. Peterson, C. Tobias, and G. VanDrecht. 2006. Denitrification across landscapes and waterscapes: a synthesis. Ecological Applications 16 (6): 2064–2090.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. Sigleo, A.C., and W.E. Frick. 2007. Seasonal variations in river discharge and nutrient export to a Northeastern Pacific estuary. Estuarine Coastal and Shelf Science 78: 368–378.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. Sigleo, A.C., C.W. Mordy, P. Stabeno, and W.E. Frick. 2005. Nitrate variability along the Oregon coast: estuarine-coastal exchange. Estuarine, Coastal and Shelf Science 64 (2-3): 211–222.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. Sigleo, A.C., W.E. Frick, and L. Prieto. 2010. Alder cover affects stream water nitrate: comparison of two Oregon watersheds. Northwest Science 84 (4): 336–350.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. Sin, Y., A.C. Sigleo, and E. Song. 2007. Nutrient fluxes in the microalgal-dominated intertidal regions of the lower Yaquina estuary, Oregon (USA). Northwest Science 81 (1): 50–61.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  49. Small, L.F., and D.W. Menzies. 1981. Patterns of primary productivity and biomass in a coastal upwelling region. Deep-Sea Research 28 (2): 123–149.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  50. Smyth, A.R., S.P. Thompson, K.N. Siporin, W.S. Gardner, M.J. McCarthy, and M.F. Piehler. 2013. Assessing nitrogen dynamics throughout the estuarine landscape. Estuaries and Coasts 36 (1): 44–55.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  51. Sokal, R.R., and F.J. Rohlf. 1981. Biometry. 2nd ed. San Francisco: W H. Freeman & Co.Google Scholar
  52. Svensson, J.M., G.M. Carrer, and M. Bocci. 2000. Nitrogen cycling in sediments of the Lagoon of Venice, Italy. Marine Ecology Progress Series 199: 1–11.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  53. Tiegs, S.D., D.T. Chaloner, P. Levi J. Rüegg, J.L. Tank, and G.A. Lambert. 2008. Timber harvest transforms ecological roles of salmon in southeast Alaska rain forest streams. Ecological Applications 18 (1): 4–11.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  54. Uncles, R.J., and R.E. Smith. 2005. A note on the comparative turbidity of some estuaries of the Americas. Journal of Coastal Research. 21: 845–852.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  55. USEPA. 2006. Wadeable streams assessment: a collaborative survey of the nations streams. Washington, D.C.: USEPA.Google Scholar
  56. Vogel, J.G., and S.T. Gower. 1998. Carbon and nitrogen dynamics of boreal jack pine stands with and without green alder understory. Ecosystems 1 (4): 386–400.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  57. Wallenstein, M.D., D.D. Myrold, M. Firestone, and M. Voytek. 2006. Environmental controls on denitrifying communities and denitrification rates: insights from molecular methods. Ecological Applications 16 (6): 2143–2152.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  58. Weilhoefer, C.L., W.G. Nelson, and P. Clinton. 2015. Tidal channel diatom assemblages reflect within wetland environmental conditions and land use at multiple scales. Estuaries and Coasts 38 (2): 534–545.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  59. Wimberley, M.C., and J.L. Ohmann. 2004. A multi-scale assessment of human and environmental constraints on forest land cover change on the Oregon (USA) Coast Range. Landscape Ecology 19 (6): 631–646.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Coastal and Estuarine Research Federation 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Western Ecology DivisionUS Environmental Protection AgencyNewportUSA
  2. 2.Visual Plumes ConsultingNewportUSA

Personalised recommendations