Distribution and sources of carbon, nitrogen, phosphorus and biogenic silica in the sediments of Chilika lagoon
The present study investigated the spatial and vertical distribution of organic carbon (OC), total nitrogen (TN), total phosphorus (TP) and biogenic silica (BSi) in the sedimentary environments of Asia’s largest brackish water lagoon. Surface and core sediments were collected from various locations of the Chilika lagoon and were analysed for grain-size distribution and major elements in order to understand their distribution and sources. Sand is the dominant fraction followed by silt + clay. Primary production within the lagoon, terrestrial input from river discharge and anthropogenic activities in the vicinity of the lagoon control the distribution of OC, TN, TP and BSi in the surface as well as in the core sediments. Low C/N ratios in the surface sediments (3.49–3.41) and cores (4–11.86) suggest that phytoplankton and macroalgae may be major contributors of organic matter (OM) in the lagoon. BSi is mainly associated with the mud fraction. Core C5 from Balugaon region shows the highest concentration of OC ranging from 0.58–2.34%, especially in the upper 30 cm, due to direct discharge of large amounts of untreated sewage into the lagoon. The study highlights that Chilika is a dynamic ecosystem with a large contribution of OM by autochthonous sources with some input from anthropogenic sources as well.
KeywordsOrganic carbon biogenic silica seagrass C/N ratio Chilika lagoon
Financial assistance under the Maulana Azad National Fellowship Program from the University Grants Commission (UGC), Govt. of India, is highly acknowledged. The first author is grateful to Mr. Arif Ahmad, Mr. Sughosh Madhav, Davesh Vashishta and Prerana Joshi for their help during the field and sampling campaign.
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