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Marine Ecology Progress Series

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MEPS 253:85-96 (2003)  -  doi:10.3354/meps253085

Factors affecting the concentration and flux of materials in two southern Everglades mangrove wetlands

Stephen E. Davis III1,4,*, Daniel L. Childers1, John W. Day Jr.2, David T. Rudnick3, Fred H. Sklar3

1Department of Biological Science/Southeast Environmental Research Center, Florida International University, University Park Campus, Miami, Florida 33199, USA
2Coastal Ecology Institute, Center for Coastal, Energy, and Environmental Resources, Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge, Louisiana 70803, USA
3Everglades Systems Research Division, South Florida Water Management District, 3301 Gun Club Rd., West Palm Beach, Florida 33416, USA
4Present address: Dept. of Wildlife & Fisheries Sciences, Texas A&M University, College Station, Texas 77843-2258, USA

ABSTRACT: Concentrations and fluxes of C, N, and P were measured in dwarf and fringe mangrove wetlands along the Taylor River, Florida, USA from 1996 to 1998. Data from these studies revealed considerable spatial and temporal variability. Concentrations of C, N, and P in the dwarf wetland showed seasonal trends, while water source was better at explaining concentrations in the fringe wetland. The total and dissolved organic carbon (TOC and DOC), total nitrogen (TN), and total phosphorus (TP) content of both wetlands was higher during the wet season or when water was flowing to the south (Everglades source). Concentrations of nitrate plus nitrite (NOx-), ammonium (NH4+), and soluble reactive phosphorus (SRP) in the fringe wetland were all highest during the dry season or northerly flow (bay source). Nutrient concentrations most effectively explained patterns of flux in both wetlands. Increased wetland uptake of a given constituent was usually a function of its availability in the water column. However, the release of NOx- from the dwarf wetland was related to the NH4+ concentration, suggesting a nitrification signal. Nitrogen flux in the dwarf wetland was also related to surface water salinity and temperature. Our findings indicate that freshwater Everglades marshes are an important source of dissolved organic matter to these wetlands, while Florida Bay may be a source of dissolved inorganic nutrients. Our data also suggest that temperature, salinity, and nutrient concentrations (as driven by season and water source) influence patterns of materials flux in this mangrove wetland. Applying long-term water quality data to the relationships we extracted from these flux data, we estimated that TN and TP were imported by the dwarf wetland 87 ± 10 and 48 ± 17% of the year, respectively. With Everglades restoration, modifications in freshwater delivery may have considerable effects on the exchanges of nutrients and organic matter in these transitional mangrove wetlands.

KEY WORDS: Wetland-water column fluxes · Nutrient concentrations · Salinity · Temperature · Water source · Season

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