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Biogeochemical facsimile of the organic matter quality and trophic status of a micro-tidal tropical estuary

Renjith, KR and Joseph, Manju Mary and Ghosh, Prosenjit and Rahman, Habeeb K and Kumar, Ratheesh CS and Chandramohanakumar, N (2013) Biogeochemical facsimile of the organic matter quality and trophic status of a micro-tidal tropical estuary. In: Environmental Earth Sciences, 70 (2). pp. 729-742.

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Official URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s12665-012-2159-0


Seasonal studies were carried out from 21 stations, comprising of three zones, of Cochin Estuary, to assess the organic matter quality and trophic status. The hydographical parameters showed significant seasonal variations and nutrients and chlorophylls were generally higher during the monsoon season. However, chemical contamination along with the seasonal limitations of light and nitrogen imposed restrictions on the primary production and as a result, mesotrophic conditions generally prevailed in the water column. The nutrient stoichometries and delta C-13 values of surficial sediments indicated significant allochthonous contribution of organic matter. Irrespective of the higher content of total organic matter, the labile organic matter was very low. Dominance of carbohydrates over lipids and proteins indicated the lower nutritive aspect of the organic matter, and their aged and refractory nature. This, along with higher amount of phytodetritus and the low algal contribution to the biopolymeric carbon corroborated the dominance of allochthonous organic matter and the heterotrophic nature. The spatial and seasonal variations of labile organic components could effectively substantiate the observed shift in the productivity pattern. An alternative ratio, lipids to tannins and lignins, was proposed to ascertain the relative contribution of allochthonous organic matter in the estuary. This study confirmed the efficiency of an integrated biogeochemical approach to establish zones with distinct benthic trophic status associated with different degrees of natural and anthropogenic input. Nevertheless, our results also suggest that the biochemical composition alone could lead to erroneous conclusions in the case of regions that receive enormous amounts of anthropogenic inputs.

Item Type: Journal Article
Publication: Environmental Earth Sciences
Publisher: Springer
Additional Information: Copyright of this article belongs to Springer.
Keywords: Biogeochemistry; Organic Matter; Biochemical Composition; Heterotrophy; Sediments; Tropical Estuary
Department/Centre: Division of Mechanical Sciences > Centre for Earth Sciences
Date Deposited: 10 Oct 2013 05:24
Last Modified: 10 Oct 2013 05:24
URI: http://eprints.iisc.ac.in/id/eprint/47481

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