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Title Nutrients and dissolved organic matter in the Altamaha river and loading to the coastal zone
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Ammonium (NH4+), nitrate+nitrite (NOx), dissolved inorganic phosphorus (DIP) and dissolved organic carbon, nitrogen and phosphorus (DOC, DON and DOP) were measured in the Altamaha River and several tributaries during a two year period from September 2000 through September 2002. Temporal variations in concentration as well as nutrient and dissolved organic matter loading from the Altamaha to the coastal zone were determined. Loading rates were heavily dependent on river discharge, as was the form of nitrogen. All measured dissolved compounds in the Altamaha River were significantly correlated with river discharge (p<0.05) with the exception of NH4+. Concentrations of DOC, DON, DOP and DIP increased during periods of high flow, while levels of NOx dropped. This resulted in NOx dominating dissolved N loading during low river discharge, and DON increasing in importance during periods of high flow. Overall rates of C, N and P loading were much greater during high discharge times. Although loading rates of N were greater during high discharge, the shorter residence time in the coastal zone and the higher fraction of DON may alleviate some of the impacts of loading during high flow. Longer residence times and the availability of NOx for rapid uptake may contribute to coastal eutrophication during periods of low flow.

Contributors Nathaniel B. Weston, James T. Hollibaugh, Jack T. Sandow and Samantha B. Joye

Weston, N.B., Hollibaugh, J.T., Sandow, J.T. Jr. and Joye, S.B. 2003. Nutrients and dissolved organic matter in the Altamaha river and loading to the coastal zone. In: Hatcher, K.J. (editor). Proceedings of the 2003 Georgia Water Resources Conference. Institute of Ecology, University of Georgia, Athens, Georgia.

Key Words Altamaha, coastal zone, dissolved organic matter, dom, loading, nutrients, river, Student Publication
File Date 2003
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This material is based upon work supported by the National Science Foundation under grants OCE-9982133, OCE-0620959, OCE-1237140 and OCE-1832178. Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in the material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.