Isotopic signatures of eelgrass (Zostera marina L.) as bioindicator of anthropogenic nutrient input in the western Baltic Sea

Schubert, Philipp R., Karez, Rolf, Reusch, Thorsten B.H. and Dierking, Jan (2013) Isotopic signatures of eelgrass (Zostera marina L.) as bioindicator of anthropogenic nutrient input in the western Baltic Sea Marine Pollution Bulletin, 72 (1). pp. 64-70. DOI 10.1016/j.marpolbul.2013.04.029.

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Supplementary data:


• Anthropogenic nitrogen (N) inputs are a global problem, but difficult to quantify.
• We tested the use of eelgrass δ15N as proxy of such inputs in the Baltic Sea.
• The method revealed distinct spatial patterns in sewage N across a eutrophic bay.
• Traditional eutrophication measures corroborated the results from δ15N values.
• Eelgrass δ15N ratios have high potential as proxy of sewage-derived N in the Baltic.

Eutrophication is a global environmental problem. Better management of this threat requires more accurate assessments of anthropogenic nitrogen (N) inputs to coastal systems than can be obtained with traditional measures. Recently, primary producer N isotopic signatures have emerged as useful proxy of such inputs. Here, we demonstrated for the first time the applicability of this method using the widespread eelgrass (Zostera marina) in the highly eutrophic Baltic Sea. Spatial availability of sewage N across a bay with one major sewage outflow predicted by eelgrass δ15N was high near and downstream of the outflow compared to upstream, but returned to upstream levels within 4 km downstream from the outfall. General conclusions were corroborated by traditional eutrophication measures, but in contrast to these measures were fully quantitative. Eelgrass N isotope ratios therefore show high potential for coastal screens of eutrophication in the Baltic Sea, and in other areas with eelgrass meadows

Document Type: Article
Additional Information: WOS:000321937700022
Keywords: Nitrogen; Stable isotopes; δ15N; Sewage; Eutrophication; Water quality
Research affiliation: OceanRep > GEOMAR > FB3 Marine Ecology > FB3-EV Evolutionary Ecology of Marine Fishes
OceanRep > The Future Ocean - Cluster of Excellence
Refereed: Yes
DOI etc.: 10.1016/j.marpolbul.2013.04.029
ISSN: 0025-326X
Projects: Future Ocean
Date Deposited: 24 Apr 2013 12:50
Last Modified: 16 Sep 2013 12:05

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