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Title: Hydrologic Shifts Create Complex Transient Distributions of Particulate Organic Carbon and Biogeochemical Responses in Beach Aquifers

Biogeochemical reactions within intertidal zones of coastal aquifers have been shown to alter the concentrations of terrestrial solutes prior to their discharge to surface waters. In organic‐poor sandy aquifers, the input of marine organic matter from infiltrating seawater supports active biogeochemical reactions within the sediments. However, while the seasonality of surface water organic carbon concentrations (primary production) and groundwater mixing have been documented, there is limited understanding of the transience of various organic carbon pools (pore water particulate, dissolved, sedimentary) within the aquifer and how these relate to the location and magnitudes of biogeochemical reactions over time. To understand the relationship between changes in groundwater flow and the seasonal migration of geochemical patterns, beach pore water and sediment samples were collected and analyzed from six field sampling events spanning 2 years. While the seasonally dynamic patterns of aerobic respiration closely followed those of salinity, redox conditions and nutrient characteristics (distributions of N and P, denitrification rates) were unrelated to contemporaneous salinity patterns. This divergence was attributed to the spatial variations of reactive particulate organic carbon distributions, unrelated to salinity patterns, likely due to filtration, retardation, and immobilization dynamics during transport within the sediments. Results support a “carbon memory” effect within the beach, with the evolution and migration of reaction patterns relating to the distribution of these scattered carbon pools as more mobile solutes move over less mobile pools during changes in hydrologic conditions. This holds important implications for the prediction and quantification of biogeochemical reactions within beach systems.

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Author(s) / Creator(s):
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Publisher / Repository:
DOI PREFIX: 10.1029
Date Published:
Journal Name:
Journal of Geophysical Research: Biogeosciences
Page Range / eLocation ID:
p. 3024-3038
Medium: X
Sponsoring Org:
National Science Foundation
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