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A tracer investigation of nitrogen cycling in a pristine tundra river
- Peterson, B J, Bahr, M, Kling, G W
- Canadian journal of fisheries and aquatic sciences 1997 v.54 no.10 pp. 2361-2367
- ammonium compounds, aquatic ecosystems, environmental impact, food webs, isotope labeling, nitrogen, nitrogen cycle, rivers, stable isotopes, tundra
- The fate of nitrogen (N) in drainages depends in part on N storage and transformation within the river network. The addition of an [¹⁵N]NH₄⁺ isotopic tracer to a tundra river provided information on the uptake, food web transfer, and ecosystem retention of N. The fourth-order Kuparuk River ecosystem took up 60% of the NH₄⁺ within 1 h and 1 km of the point of tracer addition. Long-lived biota and epilithon retained measurable amounts of the added ¹⁵N for up to 2 years. These transformations and storages within rivers exert control over the timing of N export, the chemical form of exported N, and, consequently, its ecological impact on downstream aquatic ecosystems.