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Benthic distribution in the Westerschelde. The variation in the respiration rate and nutrient fluxes along the salinity and inundation gradients of the WS.
Al Yamani, H. (2021). Benthic distribution in the Westerschelde. The variation in the respiration rate and nutrient fluxes along the salinity and inundation gradients of the WS. BSc Thesis. NIOZ Royal Netherlands Institute for Sea Research: Yerseke. 40 pp.

Thesis info:

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  • Al Yamani, H.

Abstract
    In conclusion, the results which I got after analyzing the data in RStudio have shown that there is a change in the respiration rate and nutrient fluxes along salinity gradient in the Westerschelde estuary. There is well a knowledge gap in the data since all information found online are showing results before 2006. The wastewater treatment built in 2006 outside Brussels have decreased the amount of nutrients which reaches the Westerschelde estuary, but other source of pollution is keeping the N and P value high. Furthermore, the results are showing a difference in both respiration rates and nutrient fluxes between 25m and 200m from a salt marsh. This is due to the location itself which might be affected by hydrodynamics. Moreover, grainsize plays an important role the nutrients concentrations, in which sandy beaches have less organic matter between the particles since water can flow easily and flush away everything. On the other hand, in muddy beaches, the particles have more organic matter due to the flat structure which blocks the water in getting in. Sediment activity is an important aspect which explains why there is a variation in oxygen found in the sediment. This is due to the bacteria which are decomposing the organic matter and consuming the oxygen in the sediment. As for the nutrients, an equilibrium should be the case between the sediments and the water column, so the nutrients might diffuse for the sediment upward if the nutrients are high compared to the water column.

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