Centimeter-scale patterns of oxygen concentrations related to nitrification in prairie stream substrate

TitleCentimeter-scale patterns of oxygen concentrations related to nitrification in prairie stream substrate
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2001
AuthorsKemp, MJ, Dodds, WK
JournalJournal of the North American Benthological Society
Pagination347 -357
Accession NumberKNZ00772
KeywordsAlgae, microelectrodes, N cycling, nitrification, O2 concentration, streams, tallgrass prairie

Dissolved oxygen (O2) was measured with microelectrodes in shallow subsurface microsites in a prairie stream and related to rates of nitrification determined in the laboratory using the nitrapyrin method. Substrata sampled included diatom mats, leaves and wood (coarse benthic organic matter, CBOM), filamentous green algae, bryophytes, and fine benthic organic matter (FBOM). Significant differences in O2 concentrations were found among the substrata, with anoxic zones occurring primarily in FBOM from deep pool sediments and CBOM from litter accumulations. Filamentous green algae and bryophytes had average O2 concentrations near saturation and intermediate rates of nitrification. Diatom mats had the highest concentrations of O2 (up to several times saturation) and the highest rates of nitrification. In the summer, O2 concentrations were above saturation in epilithon and filamentous green algal mats. Nitrification rates were highest in epilithon and filamentous green algae samples taken in the spring and autumn. A significant positive relationship between nitrification rates and O2 concentration was observed in all seasons except summer. These data suggest that O2 concentration could control nitrification in prairie streams.