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Sedimentary deposition and reflux of phosphorus (P) in the Eastern Gotland Basin and their coupling with P concentrations in the water column

Author(s): Sven Hille | Günther Nausch | Thomas Leipe

Journal: Oceanologia
ISSN 0078-3234

Volume: 47;
Issue: 4;
Start page: 663;
Date: 2005;
Original page

Keywords: Baltic Sea | Gotland Basin | sediment | posphorus | deposition | reflux

In order to describe the role of sedimentary processes for the phosphorus (P) cycle in the open Baltic Proper, P deposition and reflux were quantified for the predominately anoxic sediments of the Eastern Gotland Basin. The study is based on investigations of 53 surface sediment samples and pore water samples from 8 sediment cores. The average P deposition rate was estimated at 0.20 g ± 0.18 g -2 yr-1, the fluctuation being due to variable bulk sediment deposition rates. P refluxes were estimated by applying Fick's First Law of Diffusion. A fairly good positive correlation between sedimentary P deposition and P release was obtained. P release from sediments by diffusion exceeds net P deposition by a factor of 2. This suggests that 2/3 of the deposited gross P is recycled in the sediments and released back into the water column; only 1/3 remains in the sediment permanently. A budget calculation demonstrates that the released dissolved inorganic phosphorus (DIP) accounts for the observed increase in DIP concentrations in the deep water during periods of stagnation, which is noticeable even at the surface P concentrations. Under such conditions and with the present remediation conditions it is not possible to freely manage P concentrations in the water column on short time scales.
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