COI Funded Project: A Little Nitrate Factory: Geochemical Consequences of Advective Downwelling in Nearshore Coastal Marine


Project Funded: 2003

Proposed Research

We propose an exploratory study of the impact of seawater recirculation on the nitrogen cycle in sandy nearshore sediments of Waquoit Bay. This study will form a kepy part of the dissertation research of Joint Program student Emile Slaby. Using "sippers", we will collect time series of pore water samples through several tidal cycles, in conjuction with a planned seepage meter study of groundwater discharge and seawater recirculaton in Waquoit Bay. We will then measure nitrate and ammonium in these samples to evaluate the impact of fluid flow on the pore water profiles of these nutrient compounds, and on the sedimentary reactions that produce, consume, and transform them. In addition to providing an improved understanding of nitrogen cycling in estuarine sediments, we expect that our results will be of interest to algal bloom specialists trying to identify specific times and locations of elevated nutrient availability, and to estuarine managers trying to understand the processes that influence eutrophication.