The Benthic Exchange of O<sub>2</sub>, N<sub>2</sub> and Dissolved Nutrients Using Small Core Incubations
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The Benthic Exchange of O2, N2 and Dissolved Nutrients Using Small Core Incubations

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    J Vis Exp. 2016; (114): 54098.
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    The measurement of sediment-water exchange of gases and solutes in aquatic sediments provides data valuable for understanding the role of sediments in nutrient and gas cycles. After cores with intact sediment-water interfaces are collected, they are submerged in incubation tanks and kept under aerobic conditions at in situ temperatures. To initiate a time course of overlying water chemistry, cores are sealed without bubbles using a top cap with a suspended stirrer. Time courses of 4-7 sample points are used to determine the rate of sediment water exchange. Artificial illumination simulates day-time conditions for shallow photosynthetic sediments, and in conjunction with dark incubations can provide net exchanges on a daily basis. The net measurement of N2 is made possible by sampling a time course of dissolved gas concentrations, with high precision mass spectrometric analysis of N2:Ar ratios providing a means to measure N2 concentrations. We have successfully applied this approach to lakes, reservoirs, estuaries, wetlands and storm water ponds, and with care, this approach provides valuable information on biogeochemical balances in aquatic ecosystems.
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