Mechanisms driving phosphorus release during algal blooms based on hourly changes in iron and phosphorus concentrations in sediments.Water Res. 2018 04 15; 133:153-164.WR
Algal growth causes a drastic change in aquatic conditions over a diel cycle, which may induce sensitive feedback systems in sediments, causing P release. In this study, a microcosm experiment was performed using a suction sampler (Rhizon) to observe changes in soluble reactive phosphorus (SRP) and soluble Fe(II) concentrations in the top 20 mm sediment layer on a 3-h time interval, at different phases of harmful algal bloom (HAB) development. The results showed that the algal blooms prevailed up to 15 days after incubation, after which the process of bloom collapse proceeded until the 70th day. The concentrations of pore-water soluble Fe(II) and SRP increased throughout the incubation period. Compared to day 1, maximum increases of 214% in soluble Fe(II) and 387% in SRP were observed at night during the bloom and collapse periods, respectively. The diffusive fluxes of Fe and P at the sediment-water interface (SWI) generally corresponded to their changes in concentrations. Hourly fluctuation in soluble Fe(II) and SRP concentrations were observed with two distinct concentration peaks occurred at 21:00 p.m. and 06:00 a.m. (or 03:00 a.m.), respectively. These findings suggest that Fe-P coupling mechanisms are responsible for the release of P from sediments. During the collapse period, soluble Fe(II) concentrations were suppressed by the increase of labile S(-II) at night. Meanwhile, SRP concentrations were decoupled from Fe cycling with small fluctuations (<11% RSD) on an hourly timescale, and the decomposition of algae was a dominant source contributing to the release of P from sediments. These results significantly improved the understanding of processes and mechanisms behind the stimulated release of P from sediments during HABs.