Nitrogen to phosphorus ratio in the Venice (Italy) Lagoon (2001-2010) and its relation to macroalgae

TitleNitrogen to phosphorus ratio in the Venice (Italy) Lagoon (2001-2010) and its relation to macroalgae
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2016
AuthorsZirino A., Elwany H., Facca C., Maicu F., Neira C., Mendoza G.
JournalMarine Chemistry
Date Published2016/03
Type of ArticleArticle
ISBN Number0304-4203
Accession NumberWOS:000372557700004
Keywordsdrainage-basin; ecosystems; Macroalgae; marine; Nitrogen/phosphorus; northern adriatic sea; of-venice; p ratios; phytoplankton; radium; sediments; submarine groundwater discharge; Venice Lagoon; water

Analysis of the annually-averaged 2001-2010 monthly nutrient data from 13 stations in the Venice Lagoon (Italy) shows that the concentrations of dissolved nitrogen (N) species, measured as total dissolved N (TDN), have increased over time while that of phosphorus (P) species, measured as total dissolved P (TDP) have decreased. During the study period, the TDN/TDP ratio in the lagoon rose from about 46:1 to 100:1 (by atoms), a level at which the growth of benthic macroalgae is favored over that of sea grasses. The increase of the TDN/TDP ratio appears to be caused by two factors: (1) a small, but increasing amount of N in river water entering the lagoon, and (2) low P input combined with adsorption and entrapment of orthophosphate on colloidal iron oxides and carbonates at the water-sediment interface. This second mechanism would explain the increase in the TDN/TDP ratio, principally in zones of low salinity, where hydrodynamic residence times are long enough to permit N enrichment and result in macroalgal growth preferentially in the central, landward, side of the lagoon. However, an examination of the algal coverage of the lagoon floor from 2002 to 2010, indicates that while macroalgal abundance may be influenced by the N/P ratio, the spatial and temporal distribution during this period cannot be explained solely by this one feature. Nonetheless, this work points to the importance of considering the contributions that sediments in shallow lagoons make to the over-all system productivity and ecology and may be applicable to other shallow environments. (C) 2016 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

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