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Tanzania Journal of Science

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Studies on benthic denitrification in the Chwaka Bay mangrove sediments, Zanzibar

SM Mahommed, RW Johnstone

Abstract


Denitrification was measured at three sites in a narrow tidal creek in the Chwaka mangrove ecosystem. Denitrification arising from water column nitrate (Dw) was low (< 0.1μM Nm-2h-1) and there was little spatial and seasonal variation in Dw rates in the creek. Coupled nitrification-denitrification (Dn) was found to be low, but within the range measured in other mangrove sediments. Average values ranged from 0.01 to 0.45 μM Nm-2h-1 and showed strong spatial variations. The low denitrifcation rates observed in the creek were possibly as a result of the low availability of NO3 and high C:N values of the organic matter in the sediment. Spatial variations in denitrification rates were due to variations in concentration levels of organic matter and possibly to disproportionate competition for inorganic nitrogen between denitrifiers and benthic autotrophs among sites. There were no seasonal differences in denitrification rates. Results from the present study suggest that sediment denitrification does not play a major role as a sink for N in this ecosystem



Tanzanian Journal of Science Vol. 28(1) 2002: 71-81



http://dx.doi.org/10.4314/tjs.v28i1.18320
AJOL African Journals Online