Nitrogen (N) enrichment can have large effects on mangroves’ capacity to provide critical ecosystem services by affecting fundamental functions such as N cycling and primary productivity. However, our understanding of excess N input effects on N cycling in mangroves remains quite limited. To advance our understanding of how N enrichment via water or air pollution affects mangroves, we evaluated whether increasing N inputs would decrease biological N fixation (BNF), but intensify N dynamics and N losses to the atmosphere in these systems. We measured N concentrations in sediment and vegetation, rates of BNF in sediment and litter, and net sediment ammonification and nitrification rates. We also evaluated long-term integrated N dynamics and N losses to the atmosphere using the natural abundance of N stable isotopes (δ15N) in the sediment–plant system and in estuarine water. We performed these analyses at non-N-enriched and N-enriched (that is, polluted) fringe and basin mangroves in southeastern Brazil. The δ15N in the sediment–plant system was higher at N-enriched than non-N-enriched fringe sites, indicating increased N losses to the atmosphere from N-enriched sites. However, N concentrations in sediment and vegetation were similar or lower at N-enriched relative to non-N-enriched sites. BNF and net ammonification and nitrification rates were also similar between N-enriched and non-N-enriched sites. Excess N inputs intensified N losses to the atmosphere from mangroves, but N pools, BNF, and net ammonification and nitrification rates were not affected by N enrichment, likely because excess N was quickly lost from the system by direct denitrification and volatilization.
Additional publication details
|Publication Subtype||Journal Article|
|Title||Isotopic evidence that nitrogen enrichment intensifies nitrogen losses to the atmosphere from subtropical mangroves|
|Contributing office(s)||Southwest Biological Science Center|
|Other Geospatial||Estuarine Lagunar Complex|