Wetlands

, Volume 34, Issue 4, pp 641–651 | Cite as

Geochemical, Temperature, and Hydrologic Transport Limitations on Nitrate Retention in Tidal Freshwater Wetlands, Patuxent River, Maryland

Article

Abstract

Tidal freshwater wetlands receive and retain significant amounts of water, nutrients, and sediment loads from terrestrial watersheds. Wetlands retain nutrients, particularly nitrogen, through microbial processing (e.g. denitrification), plant uptake, and burial. Previous research has provided data on these processes through plot studies and laboratory experiments; however, in situ validation of these results is necessary. Extending the localized measurements to the ecosystem scale requires an understanding of external controls on ecosystem retention processes, such as the determination of whether nitrogen retention is controlled by supply, temperature, or hydrologic transport. These controls were examined through a multi-scale, mass balance approach to measure nitrate retention in tidal freshwater wetlands of the Patuxent River, Maryland. Mass balance measurements of hydrologic and nitrate fluxes were conducted over a 3-year period on a range of marsh sizes. These mass balance results indicate that nitrate retention is not limited by incoming nitrate supply, and is not sensitive to the range of temperatures encountered during the growing season. Nitrate retention data composed of all marsh sites and seasons can be expressed as a simple function of water volume. This result suggests that nitrate retention is principally controlled by hydrologic transport in this tidal freshwater marsh ecosystem.

Keywords

Marsh Denitrification Patuxent River Geomorphology Mass balance 

References

  1. Aber JD, Nadelhoffer KJ, Stuedler P, Melillo JM (1989) Nitrogen saturation in Northern forest ecosystems: excess nitrogen from fossil fuel combustion may stress the biosphere. BioScience 39:378–386CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Aber JD, McDowell W, Nadelhoffer KJ, Magill A, Berntson G, Kamakea M, McNulty S, Currie W, Rustad L, Fernandez I (1998) Nitrogen saturation in temperate forest ecosystems: hypotheses revisited. BioScience 48:921–934CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Abdalla M, Jones M, Smith P, Williams M (2009) Nitrous oxide fluxes and denitrification sensitivity to temperature in Irish pasture soils. Soil Use and Management 25:376–388. doi:10.1111/j.1475-2743.2009.00237.x CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Ågren GI, Bosatta E (1988) Nitrogen saturation of terrestrial ecosystems. Environmental Pollution 54:185–197PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Barendregt A, Swarth CW (2013) Tidal freshwater wetlands: variation and changes. Estuaries and Coasts 36:225–456. doi:10.1007/s12237-013-9626-z CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Betlach MR, Tiedje JM (1981) Kinetic explanation for accumulation of nitrite, nitric oxide, and nitrous oxide during bacterial denitrification. Applied Environmental Microbiology 42:1074–1084PubMedCentralPubMedGoogle Scholar
  7. Boesch DF, Brinsfield RB, Magnien RE (2001) Chesapeake Bay eutrophication: scientific understanding, ecosystem restoration, and challenges for agriculture. Journal of Environmental Quality 30:303–320PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Bowden WB (1987) The biogeochemistry of nitrogen in freshwater wetlands. Biogeochemistry 4:314–348CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Boynton WR, Garber JH, Summers R, Kemp WM (1995) Inputs, transformations, and transport of N and P in Chesapeake Bay and selected tributaries. Estuaries 18:285–314CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Boynton WR, Hagy JD, Cornwell JC, Kemp WM, Greene SM, Owens MS, Baker JE, Larsen RK (2008) Nutrient budgets and management actions in the Patuxent River Estuary, Maryland. Estuaries and Coasts 31:623–651. doi:10.1007/s12237-008-9052-9 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Burgin AJ, Groffman PM (2012) Soil O2 controls denitrification rates and N2O yield in a riparian wetland. Journal of Geophysical Research 117, G01010. doi:10.1029/2011JG001799 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Burgin AJ, Hamilton SH (2007) Have we overemphasized the role of denitrification in aquatic ecosystems? A review of nitrate removal pathways. Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment 5:89–96CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Busnardo MJ, Gersberg RM, Langis R, Sinicrope TL, Zedler JB (2003) Nitrogen and phosphorus removal by wetland mesocosms subjected to different hydroperiods. Ecological Engineering 1:287–307CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Chen Y–C, Chiu CL (2002) An efficient method of discharge measurement in tidal streams. Journal of Hydrology 265:212–224CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Cooper AB (1990) Nitrate depletion in the riparian zone and stream channel of a small headwater catchment. Hydrobiologia 202:13–26CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Cooper AB, Cooke JG (1984) Nitrate loss and transformation in 2 vegetated headwater streams. New Zealand Journal of Marine & Freshwater 18:441–450CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Cornwell JC, Kemp WM, Kana TM (1999) Denitrification in coastal ecosystems: methods, environmental controls, and ecosystem level controls, a review. Aquatic Ecology 33:41–54CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Correll DL (1997) Buffer zones and water quality protection: general principles. In: Burt TP, Goulding KWT, Pinay G, Haycock NE (eds) Buffer zones: their processes and potential in water protection. Quest Environmental, Harfordshire, pp 7–20Google Scholar
  19. Davidson EA, Seitzinger SP (2006) The enigma of progress in denitrification research. Ecological Applications 16:2057–2063PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Dodds WK, López AJ, Bowden WB, Gregory S, Grimm NB, Hamilton SK, Hershey AE, Martí E, McDowell WH, Meyer JL, Morrall D, Mulholland PJ, Peterson BJ, Tank JL, Valett HM, Webster JR, Wollheim W (2002) N uptake as a function of concentration in streams. Journal of North American Benthological Society 21:206–220CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Ensign SH, Piehler MF, Doyle MW (2008) Riparian zone denitrification affects nitrogen flux through a tidal freshwater river. Biogeochemistry 91:133–150. doi:10.1007/s10533-008-9265-9 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Ensign S, Siporin K, Piehler M, Doyle M, Leonard L (2013) Hydrologic versus biogeochemical controls of denitrification in tidal freshwater wetlands. Estuaries and Coasts 36:519–532. doi:10.1007/s12237-012-9491-1 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Eyes on the Bay (1998) Maryland Department of Natural Resources. Eyes on the Bay: Water quality monitoring data, Annapolis, Maryland, USA. http://mddnr.chesapeakebay.net/eyesonthebay/index.cfm. Accessed 15 Sept 2012
  24. Fisher DC, Oppenheimer M (1991) Nitrogen deposition and the Chesapeake Bay Estuary. Ambio 20:102–108Google Scholar
  25. Fisher TR, Harding LW, Stanley DW, Ward LG (1988) Phytoplankton, nutrients, and turbidity in the Chesapeake, Delaware, and Hudson estuaries. Estuarine, Coastal and Shelf Science 27:61–93CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Fisher TR, Hagy JD, Boynton WR, Williams MR (2006) Cultural eutrophication in the Choptank and Patuxent estuaries of Chesapeake Bay. Limnology and Oceanography 51:435–447CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Hemond HF, Nuttle WK, Burke RW, Stolzenbach KD (1984) Surface infiltration in salt marshes: theory, measurement, and biogeochemical implications. Water Resources Research 20:591–600CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Hill AR (1988) Factors influencing nitrate depletion in a rural stream. Hydrobiologia 60:111–122CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Hirsch RM, Moyer DL, Archfield SA (2010) Weighted regressions on time, discharge, and season (WRTDS), with an application to Chesapeake Bay river inputs. Journal of American Water Resources Association 46:857–880. doi:10.1111/j.1752-1688.2010.00482.x CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Holtan-Hartwig L, Dorsch P, Bakken LR (2002) Low temperature control of soil denitrifying communities: kinetics of N2O production and reduction. Soil Biology and Biochemistry 34:1797–1806CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Hopfensperger KN, Kaushal SS, Findlay SEG, Cornwell JC (2009) Influence of plant communities on denitrification in a tidal freshwater marsh of the Potomac River, United States. Jounral of Environmental Quality 38:618–626. doi:10.2134/jeq2008.0220 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Jenner, BA (2011) Geomorphic and hydrologic controls on tidal prism and inlet cross sectional area for Chesapeake Bay lagoons. Thesis, University of MarylandGoogle Scholar
  33. Jordan TE, Correll DL, Weller DE (1993) Nutrient interception by a riparian forest receiving inputs from adjacent cropland. Journal of Environmental Quality 22:467–473CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Keefe CW, Blodniker KL, Boynton WR, Clark CA, Frank JM, Kaumeyer NL, Weir MW, Wood KV, Zimmermann CF (2004) Nutrient analytical services laboratory standard operating procedures. Technical Report Number SS-80-04-CBL, Chesapeake Biological LaboratoryGoogle Scholar
  35. Lowrance R (1998) Riparian forest ecosystems as filters for nonpoint-source pollution. In: Pace ML, Groffman PM (eds) Limitations and frontiers in ecosystem science. Springer, New York, pp 113–141CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Maag M (1997) Kinetic and temperature dependence of potential denitrification in riparian Soils. Journal of Environmental Quality 26:215–223CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Martin TL, Kaushik NK, Trevors JT, Whiteley HR (1999) Review: denitrification in temperate climate riparian zones. Water, Air and Soil Pollution 111:171–186CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. McClain ME, Boyer EW, Dent CL, Gergel SE, Grimm NB, Groffman PM, Hart SC, Harvey JW, Johnston CA, Mayorga E, McDowell WH, Pinay G (2003) Biogeochemical hot spots and hot moments at the interface of terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems. Ecosystems 6:301–312CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Merrill JZ, Cornwell JC (2000) The role of oligohaline marshes in estuarine nutrient cycling. In: Weinstein MP, Kreeger DA (eds) Concepts and controversies in tidal marsh ecology. Kluwer Academic Publishers, Dordrecht, Netherlands, pp 425–441Google Scholar
  40. Neubauer SC (2008) Contributions of mineral and organic components to tidal freshwater marsh accretion. Estuarine, Coastal and Shelf Science 78:78–88CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Neubauer SC, Anderson IC, Constantine JA, Kuehl SA (2002) Sediment deposition and accretion in a Mid-Atlantic (U.S.A.) tidal freshwater marsh. Estuarine. Coastal and Shelf Science 54:713–727CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Nichols DS (1983) Capacity of natural wetlands to remove nutrients from wastewater. Journal Water Pollution Control Federation 55:495–505Google Scholar
  43. Nixon SW (1987) Chesapeake Bay nutrient budgets - a reassessment. Biogeochemistry 4:77–90CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Nixon S, Lee V (1986) Wetlands and water quality. Final Report. Dept. Army. Technical Report Y-86-2Google Scholar
  45. Pasternack GB, Brush GS (1998) Sedimentation cycles in a river-mouth tidal freshwater marsh. Estuaries 21:407–415CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. Patrick WH Jr, Reddy KR (1976) Nitrification-denitrification reactions in flooded soils and water bottoms: dependence on oxygen supply and ammonium diffusion. Journal of Environmental Quality 5:469–472CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. Rabalais N, Turner RE, Wiseman WJ (2001) Hypoxia in the Gulf of Mexico. Journal of Environmental Quality 30:320–329PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. Sauer VB, Meyer RW (1992) Determination of error in individual discharge measurements. U.S. Geological Survey Professional Paper 92–144Google Scholar
  49. Saunders DL, Kalff J (2001) Nitrogen retention in wetlands, lakes, and rivers. Hydrobiologia 443:205–212CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  50. Schindler DW (1998) Replication versus realism: the need for ecosystem-scale experiments. Ecosystems 1:323–334CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  51. Seitzinger SP (1988) Denitrification in freshwater and coastal marine systems: ecological and geochemical significance. Limnology and Oceanography 33:702–724CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  52. Seitzinger SP (1994) Linkages between organic matter mineralization and denitrification in eight riparian wetlands. Biogeochemistry 25:19–39CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  53. Seitzinger SP, Harrison JA, Böhlke JK, Bouwman AF, Lowrance R, Peterson B, Tobias C, van Drecht G (2006) Denitrification across landscapes and waterscapes: a synthesis. Ecological Applications 16:2064–2090PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  54. Seitzinger SP, Styles RV, Boyer EW, Alexander RB, Billen G, Howarth RW, Mayer B, van Breemen M (2002) Nitrogen retention in rivers: model development and application to watersheds in the Northeastern U.S.A. Biogeochemistry 57(58):199–237CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  55. Seldomridge E (2009) Importance of channel networks on nitrate retention in freshwater tidal wetlands, Patuxent River, MD. Thesis, University of MarylandGoogle Scholar
  56. Seldomridge E (2012) Geomorphic, hydraulic, and biogeochemical controls on nitrate retention in tidal freshwater marshes. Dissertation, University of MarylandGoogle Scholar
  57. Seldomridge E, Prestegaard K (2012) Use of geomorphic, hydrologic, and nitrogen mass balance data to model ecosystem nitrate retention in tidal freshwater wetlands. Biogeosciences 9:1407–1437. doi:10.5194/bgd-9-1407-2012 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  58. Sheibley RW, Jackman AP, Duff JH, Triska FJ (2003) Numerical modeling of coupled nitrification-denitrification in sediment perfusion cores from the hyporheic zone of Shingobee River, MN. Advances in Water Resources 26:977–987CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  59. Simpson RL, Good RE, Leck MA, Whigham DF (1983) The ecology of freshwater tidal wetlands. BioScience 33:255–259CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  60. Smullen JT, Taft JI, Macknis J (1982) Nutrient and sediment loads to the tidal Chesapeake Bay system. In: United States Environmental Protection Agency, Chesapeake Bay Program. Technical Studies: A Synthesis. Washington, D.C., pp 147–258Google Scholar
  61. Snyder NJ, Mostaghimi S, Berry DF, Reneau RB, Hong S, McClellan PW, Smith EP (1998) Impact of riparian forest buffers on agricultural nonpoint source pollution. Journal of the American Water Resources Association 34:385–395CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  62. Solorzano L (1969) Determination of ammonia in natural waters by the phenolhypochlorite method. Limnology and Oceanography 14:799–801CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  63. Stanford G, Dzienia S, Vander-Pol RA (1975) Effect of temperature on denitrification rate in soils. Soil Science Society of America Proceedings 39:867–870CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  64. Swarth C, Peters D (1993) Water quality and nutrient dynamics of Jug Bay on the Patuxent River 1987-1992. Jug Bay Wetlands Sanctuary Technical Report, p 110 Google Scholar
  65. Turner RE, Rabalais NN (2003) Linking landscape and water quality in the Mississippi River Basin for 200 years. BioScience 53:563–572CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  66. USGS NWIS [United States Geological Survey National Water Information System]. 2012Google Scholar
  67. USGS RIM [United States Geological Survey River Input Monitoring]. 2009. Chesapeake Bay River Input Monitoring Program. http://va.water.usgs.gov/chesbay/RIMP/index.html. Accessed 15 Sept 2012
  68. Vidon P, Dosskey MG (2008) Testing a simple field method for assessing nitrate removal in riparian zones. Journal of the American Water Resources Association 44:523–534. doi:10.1111/j.1752-1688.2007.00155.x CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  69. Wigington PJ, Griffith SM, Field JA, Baham JE, Horwath WR, Owen J, Davis JH, Rain SC, Steiner JJ (2003) Nitrate removal effectiveness of a riparian buffer along a small agricultural stream in Western Oregon. Journal of Environmental Quality 32:162–170PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  70. Wollheim WM, Vörösmarty CJ, Peterson BJ, Seitzinger SP, Hopkinson CS (2006) Relationship between river size and nutrient removal. Geophysical Research Letters 33, L06410CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Society of Wetland Scientists 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of GeologyUniversity of MarylandCollege ParkUSA

Personalised recommendations