A comparative study of nitrogen uptake and nitrification rates in sub-tropical, polar and upwelling waters

 

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dc.contributor.advisor Waldron, Howard en_ZA
dc.contributor.advisor Clark, Darren en_ZA
dc.contributor.author Philibert, Marie Catherine Raïssa en_ZA
dc.date.accessioned 2016-02-05T07:26:59Z
dc.date.available 2016-02-05T07:26:59Z
dc.date.issued 2015 en_ZA
dc.identifier.citation Philibert, M. 2015. A comparative study of nitrogen uptake and nitrification rates in sub-tropical, polar and upwelling waters. University of Cape Town. en_ZA
dc.identifier.uri http://hdl.handle.net/11427/16794
dc.description Includes bibliographical references en_ZA
dc.description.abstract Nitrification is the oxidation of ammonium to nitrate through a two step biological process. Nitrification in the euphotic zone has, in the past, been considered negligible even though quantifying this process correctly is important when linking carbon export to nitrate uptake by phytoplankton. However, studies of both nitrogen uptake and nitrification rates in surface waters are rare. This thesis presents such data for the Southern Ocean and St-Helena Bay, located in the Southern Benguela upwelling system. Using 15N tracers, Nitrogen uptake and regeneration rates were measured in the Southern Ocean (during a winter cruise in July 2012 and a summer cruise in February-March 2013) and St-Helena Bay (during three studies in November 2011, March 2012 and March 2013). In St-Helena Bay, the upwelling (bloom) cycle was one of the main drivers of the nitrogen cycle. As the bloom cycle started, nitrate uptake rates (5:47 ± 670:48nmol∙L⁻¹∙h⁻¹) and nitrite regeneration (4:36 - 1:28 ± 22:83 - 1:63nmol∙L⁻¹∙h⁻¹) were high but the contribution of nitrification to the nitrate demand was low. Nitrite regeneration at this time could have been driven by phytoplankton excretion. In contrast, at the end of the bloom cycle, nitrate uptake rates were low and was exceeded by nitrate regeneration rates (25:34 - 6:16 ± 82:74 - 34:41nmol∙L⁻¹∙h⁻¹). Nitrite regeneration decreased and was most likely due to ammonium oxidation at this stage of the upwelling cycle. Nitrification in the Southern Ocean was more variable than in St-Helena Bay. It was only detected at five stations out of fifteen and the accuracy of the high nitrite oxidation rates (37:21 - 9:13 ± 217 - 88nmol∙L⁻¹∙h⁻¹) observed can only be assessed with repeat measurements. Nitrate uptake rates ranged from 0.07 to 57:00nmol∙L⁻¹∙h⁻¹ while ammonium uptake rates ranged from 0.81 - 160:94nmol∙L⁻¹∙h⁻¹. The nitrogen uptake rates were similar for both seasons. Using multivariate statistical approach, it was found that during winter, in the Southern Ocean, light and ammonium availability were the most important factors regulating nitrogen uptake while in the late summer, changes in the mixed layer depth had a larger effect. This study provides new observational data for two undersampled regions and contributes to further the mechanistic understanding of the factors regulating nitrogen uptake and nitrification in the Southern Ocean and St-Helena Bay. en_ZA
dc.language.iso eng en_ZA
dc.subject.other Oceanography en_ZA
dc.title A comparative study of nitrogen uptake and nitrification rates in sub-tropical, polar and upwelling waters en_ZA
dc.type Thesis / Dissertation en_ZA
uct.type.publication Research en_ZA
uct.type.resource Thesis en_ZA
dc.publisher.institution University of Cape Town
dc.publisher.faculty Faculty of Science en_ZA
dc.publisher.department Department of Oceanography en_ZA
dc.type.qualificationlevel Doctoral en_ZA
dc.type.qualificationname PhD en_ZA
uct.type.filetype Text
uct.type.filetype Image


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