Articles | Volume 11, issue 20
Research article
31 Oct 2014
Research article |  | 31 Oct 2014

Nitrate sources and dynamics in a salinized river and estuary – a δ15N–NO3 and δ18O–NO3 isotope approach

D. Xue, P. Boeckx, and Z. Wang

Abstract. To trace NO3 sources and assess NO3 dynamics in salinized rivers and estuaries, three rivers (Haihe River: HH River, Chaobaixin River: CB River and Jiyun River: JY River) and two estuaries (HH Estuary and CJ Estuary) along the Bohai Bay (China) have been selected to determine dissolved inorganic nitrogen (DIN: NH4+, NO2 and NO3. Upstream of the HH River, NO3 was removed 30.9 ± 22.1% by denitrification, resulting from effects of the floodgate: limiting water exchange with downstream and prolonging water residence time to remove NO3. Downstream of the HH River NO3 was removed 2.5 ± 13.3% by NO3 turnover processes. Conversely, NO3 was increased 36.6 ± 25.2% by external N source addition in the CB River and 34.6 ± 35.1% by in-stream nitrification in the JY River. The HH and CY Estuaries behaved mostly conservatively excluding the sewage input in the CJ Estuary. Hydrodynamics in estuaries has been changed by the ongoing reclamation projects, aggravating the loss of the attenuation function of NO3 in the estuary.

Final-revised paper