Benthic nitrogen cycling in the North Sea

A. R. Rosales Villa, T. D. Jickells, D. B. Sivyer, E. R. Parker, B. Thamdrup

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We present new data on the rates of sedimentary denitrification and its component processes (canonical denitrification, anammox and dissimilatory nitrate reduction to ammonium) for intertidal and subtidal sites in the North Sea using nitrogen isotope addition methods. We find overall average denitrification rates of 6.3 (range 0.4-10.6) µmol m-2h-1, similar to those previously reported for this region and other temperate shelf environments. We find canonical denitrification to be the dominant (>90%) process of the three. At the subtidal sites, most of the denitrification is supported by nitrate generated within the sediments, while at the intertidal site the main source is from the water column. We go on to consider the impact of these rates on nitrogen cycling within the North Sea region and compare the sediment core incubation rate results to estimates derived from modelling approaches. Model rates are somewhat higher than those directly measured and we consider possible reasons for this.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)31-36
Number of pages6
JournalContinental Shelf Research
Early online date22 May 2018
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sep 2019


  • Denitrification
  • Anammox
  • DNRA
  • sediments
  • North Sea

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