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The effect of a tidal cycle on the dynamics of nutrients in a tidal estuary in the Seto Inland Sea, Japan

  • Montani, Shigeru1
  • Magni, Paolo1
  • Shimamoto, Megumi1
  • Abe, Nao1
  • Okutani, Koichi1
  • 1 Kagawa University, Department of Bioresource Science, Miki, 761-07, Japan , Miki
Published Article
Journal of Oceanography
Springer Netherlands
Publication Date
Jan 01, 1998
DOI: 10.1007/BF02744382
Springer Nature


A 24 hour time series survey was carried out during a spring tide (tidal range ca.2 m) of May 1995 on a tidal estuary in the Seto Inland Sea, Japan, in the context of an integrated program planned to quantify the dynamics of biophilic elements (carbon, nitrogen and phosphorus) and the roles played by the macrobenthos on the processes. Three stations were set along a transect line of about 1.4 km, which linked the river to the rear to the innermost part of the subtidal zone. Every hour, at each station, measurements were made of surface water temperature, salinity and dissolved oxygen concentration, and surface water was collected for the determination of nutrients [NH4+−N, (NO3−+NO2−)−N, PO43−−P and Si (OH)4−Si]. During the ebb flow, riverine input of silicate and nitrate+nitrite significantly increased the concentrations of both the intertidal and the subtidal stations. Conversely, during the high tide, river nutrient concentrations were lowered by the mixing of fresh water with sea water. As a result, best (inverse) correlations were found at the river station for salinity against silicate (y=-2.9 Sal.+110.7,r2=0.879) and nitrate+nitrite (y=-1.3 Sal.+48.4,r2=0.796). In contrast, ammonium nitrogen concentrations were higher at intermediate salinities. Indeed, no significant correlation was found between salinity and ammonium. The effect of the macrobenthos, which is abundant on the intertidal flat, is discussed as a biological component that influences the processes of nutrient regeneration within the estuary. The effect of the tidal amplitude is an important one in determining the extent of the variations in nutrient concentrations at all three stations, which were stronger between the lower low tide and the higher high tide.

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