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Redox oscillation and benthic nitrogen mineralization within burrowed sediments: An experimental simulation at low frequency

Authors
  • Gilbert, Franck
  • Hulth, Stefan
  • Grossi, Vincent
  • Aller, Robert Curwood
Publication Date
Sep 01, 2016
Source
HAL-UPMC
Keywords
Language
English
License
Unknown
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Abstract

Possible effects of sediment ventilation by benthic organisms on the nitrogen cycle were investigated using an experimental setup that mimicked stable or relatively low frequency oscillating redox conditions potentially found in bioturbated deposits. Three different conditions inside burrowed sediments were simulated using 2 mm thick sediment layers: 1) continuously oxic sediment exposed to oxygenated overlying bottom water (e.g., burrow walls, surface sediment), 2) continuously anoxic sediment out of reach from either O2 or NO3 − diffusion and 3) the lining/boundary of burrowstructures or sediment pockets (e.g., excavated during feeding) subject to intermittent irrigation and redox fluctuations over several day timescales. Results demonstrated that intermittent redox fluctuations allowed sustained denitrification and episodic nitrification, whereas significant denitrification and both nitrification and denitrification were absent after ~5–10 days from continuously oxidized and anoxic zones respectively. Intermittent redox oscillations enhance metabolic diversity, magnify loss of dissolved inorganic N to solution, and permit sustained coupling between ammonification, nitrification, and denitrification despite lack of a stable stratified oxic-anoxic redox structure. Even relatively low frequency redox oscillations induce greater N loss compared to sediment that is continuously exposed to oxic and anoxic conditions.

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