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Browsing by Subject "nutrient loading"

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  • Syrjänen, Aino (2023)
    Human-induced nutrient enrichment has led to eutrophication, which is globally a severe environmental problem in aquatic ecosystems. Eutrophication has a variety of deteriorating effects on marine ecosystems in the form of e.g., cyanobacterial blooms, bottom water hypoxia and anoxia, as well as increased fish and benthos mortality. The Baltic Sea is especially prone to eutrophication due to the combined effects of restricted water exchange and extensive nutrient loads. Nutrient enrichment reinforces primary production which further enhances organic matter remineralisation in the sediment – water interface, leading to oxygen depletion in the bottom waters. Decreased oxygen concentrations on the seafloor can lead to the release of phosphorus bound to reducible iron oxides. The so-called ‘vicious circle’ of internal loading is formed through the further enhanced nutrient release from the sediments into the water column due to the reduced bottom water conditions resulting from increased supply of organic matter into the system. However, the processes controlling phosphorus transport from land to sea through the ‘coastal filter’ remain poorly understood. In this study, sediments from Paimionlahti estuary were examined for phosphorus content and bulk elemental composition. Sedimentary phosphorus contents were determined through chemical extractions. The extracted fractions of phosphorus (P) include Fe oxide bound P (Fe-P), authigenic apatite P (Ca-P I), detrital apatite P (Ca-P II), and organic P (org-P). The fraction of Fe-P dominated in the upper sediment layers in most sites, whereas more unreactive fractions associated with P burial remained constant through sediment depth. The generally unreactive forms of P illustrated increasing trends towards open sea areas, partly explained by changes in the overall sediment composition as well as by potential differences in environmental conditions among sampling sites. The highest amounts of Fe-P were recorded in sites with the highest sediment accumulation. The results demonstrate that P from rivers is transformed and processed in the coastal zone, delaying its transport to the open sea.