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Netherland Journal of Aquatic Ecology

, Volume 29, Issue 3–4, pp 245–255 | Cite as

Sediment geochemistry of phosphorus at two intertidal sites on the Great Ouse estuary, S.E. England

  • K. E. Prastka
  • T. D. Jickells
Nutrient Fluxes

Abstract

The Great Ouse estuary in southern England is a macrotidal estuary with rather coarse sediment. Two intertidal sites were sampled five times over the year at low tide. The sediments are suboxic, organic poor (approximately 1.5% organic carbon). They are composed mainly of detrital quartz and feldspar with some calcite. At both sites the total phosphorus in the sediments ranges from 0.03 – 0.12% dry weight and total iron from 0.42–1.22% dry weight. Of the total phosphorus 20% is organic and 80% is inorganic of which 10% is water extractable. Total iron and phosphorus correlate well and the ratio of iron:phosphorus is 8.4 which is similar to that found when phosphorus is adsorbed by iron oxyhydroxides, suggesting that iron oxyhydroxides are an important substrate for phosphorus sorption in these sediments. Fluxes of phosphorus from the sediment to the overlying water, measured in cores incubated in the laboratory, are low and show no seasonality. The sodium concentration in the porewaters at both sites is variable suggesting that there is movement of water through the sediment to depths of at least 20 cm. This is borne out by variable phosphorus, iron and phosphorus concentrations in the porewaters and ill defined redox zones in the sediments.

Keywords

phosphorus sediments estuary 

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Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 1995

Authors and Affiliations

  • K. E. Prastka
    • 1
  • T. D. Jickells
    • 1
  1. 1.School of Environmental SciencesUniversity of East AngliaNorwichUK

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