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Experimental investigations about effects of crude oil and dispersed crude oil in tidal flat environments 8. the nutrient efflux of the surface of tidal flat sediments reason for the patchiness of the epibenthic primary production and conditions for biological oil degradation



Experimental investigations about effects of crude oil and dispersed crude oil in tidal flat environments 8. the nutrient efflux of the surface of tidal flat sediments reason for the patchiness of the epibenthic primary production and conditions for biological oil degradation



Senckenbergiana Maritima 16(1-6): 105-120



If biological oil degradation is nutrient-dependent, the nutrient supply of epibenthic nutrient-dependent processes is critical. One of these processes is the degradation of an oil layer on the surface of tidal flat sediments, another is epibenthic primary production. The latter was chosen as an indicator of degradative capacity. Between nutrient flux out of the sediment (calculated from nutrient concentration gradients in the interstitial water) and primary production (expressed as O2 evolution per m2 and hr under standard conditions) a positive correlation was found: for NH3 r = 0.86; for PO43- r = 0.77 at a critical value r5% = 0.468 (n = 18). Hence nutrient flux out of the sediment is the main nutrient source for epibenthic processes. This holds for the areas under examination which are dry for 3-4 h during each tide. In most cases N (and not PO43-) was limiting. The reason for the patchiness of epibenthic primary production is the patchiness of the nutrient flux. There is also a patchiness of the biological oil degradation potential on the tidal flat. The ability of a tidal flat area to degrade oil biologically can be estimated: by measuring the nutrient flux and by measuring epibenthic primary production which serves as an indicator of nutrient flux. The support of biological oil degradation by supplying the tidal surface with nutrients is proposed.

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