Nitrogen levels in Narragansett Bay rising, Fulweiler quoted
Organic matter in Narragansett Bay has shifted from its traditional role of filtering nitrogen from the aquatic ecosystem in Narragansett Bay and is instead adding nitrogen to the system, two researchers said earlier this month during a lecture at the University of Rhode Island.
The presentation on the role of nitrogen in the bay’s aquatic ecosystems was delivered by researchers Robinson Fulweiler and Bethany Jenkins, who discussed their recent findings on the relationship between available organic matter in a system and the amount of nitrogen that is either used and removed from the system or fixed back into the system. To study this, they focused on phytoplankton and sediment.
“We’re seeing that when we change the amount of organic matter that is available to the sediments, they’re switching to a process of nitrogen fixation,” said Fulweiler. “The sediments are shifting from being a filterer of nitrogen to a source, and that depends on larger environmental conditions.”