Dissolved organic matter (C, N, P) on the Pernambuco coast and Fernando de Noronha archipelago (Tropical Zone of Western South Atlantic, Brazil) - A contribution to the evaluation of environmental impact

  • Elisabete de Santis Braga Universidade de São Paulo; Instituto Oceanográfico; Laboratory of Biogeochemistry of Nutrients, Micronutrients and Traces in oceans
  • Glaucia Bueno Benedetti Berbel Universidade de São Paulo; Instituto Oceanográfico; Laboratory of Biogeochemistry of Nutrients, Micronutrients and Traces in oceans
  • Vitor Gonsalez Chiozzini Universidade de São Paulo; Instituto Oceanográfico; Laboratory of Biogeochemistry of Nutrients, Micronutrients and Traces in oceans
Keywords: Dissolved organic nitrogen, dissolved organic phosphorus, total organic carbon, urea, Coastal and oceanic areas

Abstract

The dissolved organic compounds found in seawater offer an indication of biogeochemical processes and anthropogenic influence in the light of their concentrations and behavior associated with different oceanic areas. River inputs contribute with organic loads to seawater according to the level of natural and urban influence. A dilution of this material is expected toward ocean. Around oceanic islands, the quantity of organic matter results from the life cycle of marine organisms and from human occupation. The ratios of dissolved organic carbon (DOC), dissolved organic nitrogen (DON), dissolved organic phosphorus (DOP) and the association with dissolved oxygen can be used to evaluate the environmental conditions in terms of natural and anthropogenic impacts. Available information about the essential dissolved organic compounds (C, N and P) in seawater is rare. This study seeks to encourage the use of dissolved organic compounds in environmental impact assessment in coastal areas of Brazil. The spatial distribution of DOC, DON, DOP and urea was analyzed in four regions: Itamaracá (ITA), Recife Inner Shelf (RIS), Fernando de Noronha Island (FN) and Recife Harbor (RH), all in Pernambuco State - Brazil. In the case of DOC, the values obtained varied from 51.60 µmol L-1 (0.62 mg L-1) to 358.47 µmol L-1 (4.30 mg L-1), DOP values varied from 0.01 to 2.16 µmol L-1, both presenting their highest values in RH, the most intensely urbanized area. In relation to DON, an extremely high value 92.89 µmol L-1, with urea reaching 12 µmol L-1, both in RH, reflects organic and sanitary discharge. Sometimes the urea concentration was associated with precarious sewage treatment combined with tourist activity, as in the case of FN. No significant spatial variation was observed for DOP taking into account all the stations and regions, and the values presented a greater range of variation in FN. The DOC:DON ratios were higher than 7 (2-4 times the Redfield ratio) and revealed the quality of the organic matter and the importance of the local process of remineralization, confirming that the N-limitation enhanced the use of organic forms, mainly on FN. The preserved oligotrophic conditions of the RIS, Itamaracá and FN were observed in relation to dissolved organic compounds (C, N, P), but, as regards FN, effective monitoring actions are advisable as it is a pristine area.

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Published
2018-03-01
How to Cite
Braga, E., Berbel, G., & Chiozzini, V. (2018). Dissolved organic matter (C, N, P) on the Pernambuco coast and Fernando de Noronha archipelago (Tropical Zone of Western South Atlantic, Brazil) - A contribution to the evaluation of environmental impact. Brazilian Journal of Oceanography, 66(1), 30-46. https://doi.org/10.1590/s1679-87592018147906601
Section
Original Article