Understanding the nature and fate of nitrogen (N) in freshwater systems is crucial for assessing the risk of eutrophication. However, there is a paucity of information on the characterisation of fluvial N in upland peat-dominated environments. Here, we employ a combination of field sampling and tangential flow ultrafiltration (TFU) to investigate the concentrations and fluxes of low molecular weight (LMW) and high molecular weight (HMW) dissolved organic N (DON) in a peatland stream-reservoir system in the south Pennines (UK). Our TFU results show that ~ 26% of DON concentration is LMW DON and represents an estimated fluvial flux of 3.07±22 kg N ha-1 during the study period. Our mass balance results reveal that the reservoir retains 71% of LMW DON input, which accounts for ~ 25% retention of bioavailable (Dissolved inorganic N + LMW DON) N. Our study suggests that current understanding of inorganic N as the sole source of bioavailable N with eutrophic significance in upland freshwaters requires a reappraisal. Evaluation of ecosystem response to increased loading of N needs to include a consideration of LMW DON.
|Journal||Environmental Science and Technology|
|Early online date||6 Sep 2018|
|Publication status||Published - 2018|
Research Beacons, Institutes and Platforms
- Manchester Urban Institute