Nutrient dynamics in vegetated and unvegetated areas of a southern Everglades Mangrove Creek

S. E. Davis, D. L. Childers, J. W. Day, D. T. Rudnick, F. H. Sklar

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

54 Scopus citations


Flow-through flumes were used to quantify net areal fluxes of nutrients in the fringe mangrove zone of lower Taylor River in the southern Everglades National Park. We also quantified net areal fluxes along the open water portion of the channel to determine the relative importance of either zone (vegetated vs. unvegetated) in the regulation of nutrient exchange in this system. Taylor River's hydrology is driven mainly by precipitation and wind, as there is little influence of tide. Therefore, quarterly samplings of the vegetated and unvegetated flumes were slated to include typical wet season and dry season periods, as well as between seasons, over a duration of two years. Concentrations of dissolved and total organic carbon (DOC and TOC) were highest during the wet season and similar to one another throughout the study, reflecting the low particulate loads in this creek. Dissolved inorganic nitrogen (nitrate+nitrite+ammonium) Tas 10-15% of the total nitrogen (TN) content, with NOx- and NH4+ showing similar concentration ranges over the 2-year study. Soluble reactive phosphorus (SRP) was usually <0.05μM, while total phosphorus (TP) was typically an order of magnitude higher. Net areal fluxes were calculated from nutrient concentration change over the length of the flumes. Most flux occurred in the vegetated zone. Dissolved inorganic nitrogen and DOC were usually taken up from the water column; however, Te saw no seasonal pattern for any constituent over the course of this study. Total nutrients (TOC, TN, and TP) showed little net exchange and, like SRP, had fluxes that shifted irregularly throughout the study. Despite the lack of a clear seasonal pattern, there was a great deal of consistency between vegetated flumes, especially for NOx- and NH4+, and fluxes in the vegetated flumes were generally in the same direction (import, export, or no net flux) during a given sampling. These findings suggest that the fringe mangrove zone is of considerable importance in regulating nutrient dynamics in lower Taylor River. Furthermore, the influence of this zone may at rimes extend into northeast Florida Bay, as the bay is the primary recipient of water and nutrients during the wet season.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)753-768
Number of pages16
JournalEstuarine, Coastal and Shelf Science
Issue number6
StatePublished - 2001
Externally publishedYes


  • Everglades
  • Florida Bay
  • Flume
  • Net areal flux
  • Nitrogen
  • Organic carbon
  • Phosphorus
  • Rhizophora mangle

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oceanography
  • Aquatic Science


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