Restoration of estuarine habitats supports changes in nitrogen cycling and removal over time Public Deposited

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  • March 20, 2019
  • Onorevole, Kathleen
    • Affiliation: College of Arts and Sciences, Department of Marine Sciences
  • Salt marshes and oyster reefs can be restored as living shorelines to prevent coastal erosion and provide ecosystem functions, including denitrification. This microbial process transforms N to a non-bioavailable gas, possibly also producing the powerful greenhouse gas N2O. This study used a chronosequence space-for-time replacement design spanning 0 to 20 years to evaluate N cycling following restoration. Sediment cores were collected seasonally. Dissolved N2 and O2 fluxes in the overlying water were analyzed with a membrane inlet mass spectrometer (MIMS). Denitrification always increased from the 0- to 7-year-old sites; changes in rates between the 7- and 20-year-old sites were not consistent across seasons. Sediment oxygen demand (SOD) was significantly correlated with annual denitrification and may be a viable proxy. These habitats may be a small sink for N2O. This research shows that restored salt marshes and oyster reefs can augment denitrification without increasing fluxes of N2O.
Date of publication
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Rights statement
  • In Copyright
  • Cable, Jaye
  • Piehler, Michael
  • Fodrie, F. Joel
  • Master of Science
Degree granting institution
  • University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Graduate School
Graduation year
  • 2016

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