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Marine Ecology Progress Series

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MEPS 151:143-153 (1997)  -  doi:10.3354/meps151143

Influence of shellfish farming activities on nitrification, nitrate reduction to ammonium and denitrification at the water-sediment interface of the Thau lagoon, France

Gilbert F, Souchu P, Bianchi M, Bonin P

The seasonal patterns of nitrification, denitrification and dissimilatory ammonium production (DAP) rates were studied in the sediment of 2 stations in the Thau lagoon (south of France). The station ZA was located within the shellfish farming zone and thestation B was the reference site. A marked effect of shellfish farming on bacterial activities was observed. Spatial differences were associated with discrepancies in the organic content and the reduction state of sediments, i.e. highest reductive processes (denitrification and DAP) were noted in shellfish farming area, whereas the oxidative process (nitrification) was predominant outside the farming zone. At both stations, the DAP activity increased in September (autumn) concomitant with an increase of the C/N ratio in the sediment due to the sedimentation of the summer phytoplanktonic production. Nitrification and denitrification rates exhibited maxima in November (winter) corresponding to dissolved inorganic nitrogen inputs from the surrounding land. In the shellfish farming site, 98% of nitrate was reduced to NH4+ and 2% to N2O, showing that the most of the NO3- was reduced to ammonium and remained available for the ecosystem.

Shellfish farming · Nitrogen bacterial processes · Nitrification · Nitrate reduction to ammonium · Denitrification · Thau lagoon · Mediterranean Sea · Sediment-water exchanges

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