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PO4 release at the sediment surface under anoxic conditions: a contribution to the eutrophication of the Baltic Sea?

Author(s): Bernd Schneider

Journal: Oceanologia
ISSN 0078-3234

Volume: 53;
Issue: 1-TI;
Start page: 415;
Date: 2011;
Original page

Keywords: Phosphate | Anoxia | Eutrophication | Total CO2

The vertical profiles of phosphate, total CO2 and oxygen/hydrogen sulphide were determined in the deep water of the Gotland Sea during March 2003 to July 2006 with a temporal resolution of 2-3 months. This time span included the shift from anoxic to oxic conditions resulting from a water renewal event, as well as the transition back to anoxic waters during the subsequent two-year stagnation period. The data from depths below 150 m were used to identify and quantify phosphate release and removal processes. The relationship between the total CO2 generated by mineralization (CT, min) and the PO4 concentrations indicated that the initial decrease in the phosphate concentrations after the inflow of oxygen-rich water was mainly a dilution effect. Only about one third of the PO4 removal was a consequence of the precipitation of insoluble iron-3-hydroxo-phosphates (Fe-P), which occurred slowly at the sediment surface under oxic conditions. From the CT, min/PO4 ratios it was also concluded that the formation of Fe-P was reversed during the later phase of the stagnation, when the redoxcline approached a depth of 150 m. A phosphate mass balance was performed for four deep water sub-layers in order to quantify the dissolution of Fe-P during the stagnation period and thus to estimate the amount of Fe-P deposited during the last inflow of oxygen-rich water. A value of about 50 mmol-P m-2 was found, which refers to the specific biogeochemical conditions during the change from anoxic to oxic conditions that preceded the stagnation period.
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