Hydrologic measurements and analyses of various nitrogen and phosphorus species were made on the Apalachicola River system in northern Florida in 1979 and 1980. Annual outflows of total nitrogen (TN) and total phosphorus (TP) were not substantially different from annual inflows. However, there was significant net import of ammonia and soluble reactive phosphorus and net export of some particulate and organic species. The TN: TP ratio ranged from 12 to 15, but the specific ratio of dissolved inorganic nitrogen: soluble reactive phosphorus was much higher (up to 40) and increased in a downstream direction; this contributed to a phosphorus‐limiting situation in Apalachicola estuary. Processes within the flood plain ecosystem accounted for much of the release of organic and particulate species and retention of inorganic species. This flood plain function is probably critical for maintaining a nutrient pool in the estuary which supports secondary productivity and a detrital‐based food web.
Water Resources Research – Wiley
Published: May 1, 1985
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