Acta Geochimica

, Volume 36, Issue 4, pp 626–637 | Cite as

Effects of river damming on biogenic silica turnover: implications for biogeochemical carbon and nutrient cycles

  • Nan Ma
  • Zhaoliang Song
  • Baoli Wang
  • Fushun Wang
  • Xiaomin Yang
  • Xiaodong Zhang
  • Qian Hao
  • Yuntao Wu
Original Article


Rivers link terrestrial ecosystems and marine ecosystems, and they transport large amounts of substances into oceans each year, including several forms of silicon (Si), carbon (C), and other nutrients. However, river damming affects the water flow and biogeochemical cycles of Si, C, and other nutrients through biogeochemical interacting processes. In this review, we first summarize the current understanding of the effects of river damming on the processes of biogeochemical Si cycle, especially the source, composition, and recycling process of biogenic silica (BSi). Then, we introduce dam impacts on the cycles of C and some other nutrients. Dissolved silicon in rivers is mainly released from phytolith dissolution and silicate weathering. BSi in suspended matter or sediments in most rivers mainly consists of phytoliths and mainly originates from soil erosion. However, diatom growth and deposition in many reservoirs formed by river interception may significantly increase the contribution of diatom Si to total BSi, and thus significantly influence the biogeochemical Si, C, and nutrient cycles. Yet the turnover of phytoliths and diatoms in different rivers formed by river damming is still poorly quantified. Thus, they should be further investigated to enhance our understanding about the effects of river damming on global biogeochemical Si, C and nutrient cycles.


River damming Biogenic silica Biogeochemical cycles River ecosystem 



We acknowledge the support from the State’s Key Project of Research and Development Plan of China (2016YFA0601002) and the National Natural Science Foundation of China (41522207, 41571130042).

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

We declare no conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© Science Press, Institute of Geochemistry, CAS and Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Institute of the Surface-Earth System Science ResearchTianjin UniversityTianjinChina
  2. 2.School of Environmental and Chemical EngineeringShanghai UniversityShanghaiChina

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