On the dynamics of organic nutrients, nitrogen and phosphorus, in the Baltic Sea

Typ: Rapport
Serie: Oceanografi 99
Författare: Kari Eiola


In this report we study the dynamics of organic nutrients, nitrogen and phosphorus, in the Baltic Sea. The results indicate that much of the characteristics of the surface layer dynamics of organic nutrients can be described by the Redfield ratio especially in the Baltic proper. There is however deviations from the Redfield ratio that are discussed and needs to be further investigated. The seasonal variations at all investigated stations indicate that the increase and decrease of the organic phosphorus and nitrogen concentrations in spring and autumn takes place with stoichiometric values different from the Redfield ratio. It is also found that organic phosphorus concentrations start to decrease earlier in summer than organic nitrogen that may continue to increase during summer and early autumn. There is a clear trend with decreasing DIN:DIP ratios in late winter at the Gotland Deep during the period 1995-2008 while there is an improved correlation of the Redfield model during the later part of the period when we have extremely low DIN:DIP ratios. Also the results from the Bothnian bay show that the variability of organic matter is fairly well described by the Redfield model despite the extremely high late winter N:P ratios observed in this region. Hence, the seasonal variability of organic matter seems to be rather independent of the ratio of inorganic nutrients. The variability of the inorganic N to P ratios in late winter and early spring across the Baltic Sea is much larger than seen from the variability of the organic matter. This suggests that other sources than DIN and DIP as sources for new nutrients in spring are used. This is true both in the Baltic proper, where an additional nitrogen source for organic matter production in spring is needed besides inorganic nitrogen, and in the Bothnian Bay, where an additional phosphorus source is needed. Nitrogen fixation by cyanobacteria that grow later in the summer in the southern Baltic Sea can not explain the additional nitrogen source needed in early spring. Future model experiments may reveal more information about the dynamics of organic matter in the Baltic Sea.