Influence of submarine springs and wastewater on nutrient dynamics of Caribbean seagrass meadows (Page 1)  
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Influence of submarine springs and wastewater on nutrient dynamics of Caribbean seagrass meadows

The east coast of the Yucatan Peninsula, Mexico, consists of highly permeable limestone, such that surface flow and rivers are absent in this region. Extensive underground cave systems connect sink holes (cenotes) to submarine springs (ojos de aqua), which vent into the seagrass meadows of the adjacent oligotrophic coastal lagoons. This study investigated the potential for these submarine springs to influence nutrient processes within seagrass meadows, by assessing nutrient status of Thalassia testudinum meadows in two contrasting coastal lagoons along the north eastern Yucatan peninsula. Tissue nutrient concentrations as well as delta(15) N values of T. testudinum were surveyed in the Puerto Morelos Reef Lagoon and the Nichupte Lagoon System, Cancun Hotel Zone, during an extended dry period and again following heavy rainfall. After a period of heavy rainfall, T. testudinum near submarine springs in Puerto Morelos Reef Lagoon had exceptionally high leaf tissue phosphorus concentrations of 0.38 +/- 0.06%. These submarine springs may have been a direct source of phosphorus and/or a source of iron to this very iron limited carbonate system. Thalassia testudinum nutrient concentrations suggest that nitrogen loading to the Nichupte Lagoon System is regionally high and has increased over the past decade (mean leaf N: 2.04% N in 1991 to 2.71% N in 2002). Nitrogen content in leaf tissue of T. testudinum was significantly higher within the poorly flushed Nichupte Lagoon System (2.93 +/- 0.12% N) than in the well-flushed Puerto Morelos Reef Lagoon (1.80 +/- 0.07% N). Stable isotope ratios of nitrogen suggest that this high and increasing nitrogen loading within the Nichupte Lagoon System is a result of wastewater nitrogen (delta(15) N 9.06 +/- 0.07 in northern Nichupte Lagoon System vs. 1.69 +/- 0.07 in Puerto Morelos Reef Lagoon). (c) 2005 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

Keywords: nutrient sources, sewage, submarine springs, groundwater, , eutrophication, Thalassia testudinum, delta N-15, nitrogen, phosphorus, , iron, seagrass, conceptual diagrams, eelgrass zostera-marina, n-p ratios, thalassia-testudinum, florida bay, , groundwater discharge, terrigenous sediments, carbonate sediments, , light-intensity, south sulawesi, nitrogen

Author(s)Carruthers TJB, van Tussenbroek BI, and Dennison WC
IAN Author(s)Tim Carruthers, Bill Dennison
Journal / BookEstuarine Coastal And Shelf Science 64 (2-3): 191-199
TypePaper | Journal Article
Location(s)Puerto Morelos Lagoon
Nichupte Lagoon
Number of Pages9