AME 58:261-271 (2010)  -  DOI: https://doi.org/10.3354/ame01387

Effects of upwelling on short-term variability in microbial and biogeochemical processes in estuarine sediments from Elkhorn Slough, California, USA

Jane M. Caffrey1,*, James T. Hollibaugh2, Nasreen Bano2, John Haskins3

1Center for Environmental Diagnostics and Bioremediation, University of West Florida, Pensacola, Florida 32514, USA
2Department of Marine Sciences, University of Georgia, Athens, Georgia 30602-3636, USA
3Elkhorn Slough National Estuarine Research Reserve, 1700 Elkhorn Road, Watsonville, California 95076, USA

ABSTRACT: We examined short-term variability in sediment microbial processes and biogeochemistry in response to decreased irradiance accompanying an upwelling event. Potential nitrification, extractable nutrients, solid phase iron and pore water sulfide concentrations were measured several times at 3 locations in Elkhorn Slough, California, USA. Benthic fluxes of nitrate+nitrite, ammonium, phosphate, sediment oxygen consumption and denitrification from N2/Ar flux were also measured. Fog that was associated with upwelling in Monterey Bay reduced photosynthetically active radiation in Elkhorn Slough, which led to increased duration of water column hypoxia. Solid phase Fe3+ concentrations and potential nitrification rates declined while pore water sulfide increased over this period. While potential nitrification rates from this study are lower than rates from estuaries that do not experience hypoxia or anoxia, nitrifiers in Elkhorn Slough appear to be capable of adjusting to changing environmental conditions, specifically of tolerating low levels of sulfide. The nitrifying assemblage was similar to the community of ammonia-oxidizing bacteria and ammonia-oxidizing archaea that was previously reported from this system. Eutrophic shallow estuaries like Elkhorn Slough are delicately poised such that their sediment biogeochemistry responds quickly to relatively small changes in the light environment.


KEY WORDS: Nitrogen · Oxygen dynamics · Nitrification · Ammonia-oxidizing bacteria · Benthic flux


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Cite this article as: Caffrey JM, Hollibaugh JT, Bano N, Haskins J (2010) Effects of upwelling on short-term variability in microbial and biogeochemical processes in estuarine sediments from Elkhorn Slough, California, USA. Aquat Microb Ecol 58:261-271. https://doi.org/10.3354/ame01387

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