Nitrogen stable isotope values of large-bodied consumers reflect urbanization of coastal catchments

Fiona Warry, Paul Reich, Ryan Woodland, James Thomson, Ralph MAC NALLY, Perran Cook

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    3 Citations (Scopus)

    Abstract

    Anthropogenic nitrogen inputs to aquatic ecosystems can detrimentally affect ecosystem function; therefore, we need methods that identify nitrogen sources consistently among catchments. Nitrogen sources may be distinguished with stable isotope values (d15N). This study tested if the isotopic values of biota and inorganic oxides of nitrogen (NO3. + NO2., hereafter NOx.) within estuaries were predictably influenced by anthropogenic land use in catchments distributed across a coastline. The d15N values of NOx., autotrophs and consumers (fish) were measured. Increased catchment urbanization was reflected in higher d15N values of larger-bodied fish consumers but not smaller-bodied consumers, autotrophs or NOx., which may reflect the timeaveraging effect of longer tissue equilibration times in the larger fish. The proportion of the catchment subject to intensive agriculture did not relate to isotopic values of estuarine biota or NOx. The lack of relationships between intensive agriculture and d15N in the estuaries studied may result from the mixing of nitrogen sources within the catchments studied, non-uniformity in biogeochemical transformations of nitrogen during transport from agricultural sources to estuaries, or insufficiencies of broad land-use data for describing impacts of agriculture on nitrogen isotopic pools. The d15N values of consumers with slow tissue turnover appear most useful for identifying the incorporation of urban nutrient inputs into estuarine food webs at catchment scales.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)25-37
    Number of pages13
    JournalMarine Ecology Progress Series
    Volume542
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - 2016

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    nitrogen isotope
    urbanization
    stable isotopes
    stable isotope
    catchment
    nitrogen
    intensive farming
    estuaries
    autotrophs
    intensive agriculture
    estuary
    land use
    fish
    biota
    nitrogen oxides
    organisms
    nitrogen dioxide
    food webs
    ecosystem function
    aquatic ecosystem

    Cite this

    Warry, Fiona ; Reich, Paul ; Woodland, Ryan ; Thomson, James ; MAC NALLY, Ralph ; Cook, Perran. / Nitrogen stable isotope values of large-bodied consumers reflect urbanization of coastal catchments. In: Marine Ecology Progress Series. 2016 ; Vol. 542. pp. 25-37.
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    abstract = "Anthropogenic nitrogen inputs to aquatic ecosystems can detrimentally affect ecosystem function; therefore, we need methods that identify nitrogen sources consistently among catchments. Nitrogen sources may be distinguished with stable isotope values (d15N). This study tested if the isotopic values of biota and inorganic oxides of nitrogen (NO3. + NO2., hereafter NOx.) within estuaries were predictably influenced by anthropogenic land use in catchments distributed across a coastline. The d15N values of NOx., autotrophs and consumers (fish) were measured. Increased catchment urbanization was reflected in higher d15N values of larger-bodied fish consumers but not smaller-bodied consumers, autotrophs or NOx., which may reflect the timeaveraging effect of longer tissue equilibration times in the larger fish. The proportion of the catchment subject to intensive agriculture did not relate to isotopic values of estuarine biota or NOx. The lack of relationships between intensive agriculture and d15N in the estuaries studied may result from the mixing of nitrogen sources within the catchments studied, non-uniformity in biogeochemical transformations of nitrogen during transport from agricultural sources to estuaries, or insufficiencies of broad land-use data for describing impacts of agriculture on nitrogen isotopic pools. The d15N values of consumers with slow tissue turnover appear most useful for identifying the incorporation of urban nutrient inputs into estuarine food webs at catchment scales.",
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    Nitrogen stable isotope values of large-bodied consumers reflect urbanization of coastal catchments. / Warry, Fiona; Reich, Paul; Woodland, Ryan; Thomson, James; MAC NALLY, Ralph; Cook, Perran.

    In: Marine Ecology Progress Series, Vol. 542, 2016, p. 25-37.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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    AU - Warry, Fiona

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    AU - Cook, Perran

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    N2 - Anthropogenic nitrogen inputs to aquatic ecosystems can detrimentally affect ecosystem function; therefore, we need methods that identify nitrogen sources consistently among catchments. Nitrogen sources may be distinguished with stable isotope values (d15N). This study tested if the isotopic values of biota and inorganic oxides of nitrogen (NO3. + NO2., hereafter NOx.) within estuaries were predictably influenced by anthropogenic land use in catchments distributed across a coastline. The d15N values of NOx., autotrophs and consumers (fish) were measured. Increased catchment urbanization was reflected in higher d15N values of larger-bodied fish consumers but not smaller-bodied consumers, autotrophs or NOx., which may reflect the timeaveraging effect of longer tissue equilibration times in the larger fish. The proportion of the catchment subject to intensive agriculture did not relate to isotopic values of estuarine biota or NOx. The lack of relationships between intensive agriculture and d15N in the estuaries studied may result from the mixing of nitrogen sources within the catchments studied, non-uniformity in biogeochemical transformations of nitrogen during transport from agricultural sources to estuaries, or insufficiencies of broad land-use data for describing impacts of agriculture on nitrogen isotopic pools. The d15N values of consumers with slow tissue turnover appear most useful for identifying the incorporation of urban nutrient inputs into estuarine food webs at catchment scales.

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