Enteromorpha and the cycling of nitrogen in a small estuary

N. J.P. Owens, W. D.P. Stewart

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27 Citations (Scopus)


The nitrogen relations of Enteromorpha spp. growing on intertidal mud flats have been examined over a twelve-month period. Nitrogen assimilation rates using 15N have been used to calculate the production of the alga and were between 0·046 and 0·217 mg NH4+N (g dry wt alga)-1 h-1 A considerable quantity of the alga was buried beneath the sediment over the growth season and was calculated to be equivalent to an input of up to 9·52 g N m-2 per month and 32 g N m-2 over one complete growth season. Based on carbon, this latter value represented an input of approximately 320 g C m-2 annually. Low rates of nitrogenase activity (acetylene reduction) were found to be associated with the Enteromorpha. The organisms responsible for the nitrogenase activity were probably heterotrophic bacteria but they did not contribute significant quantities of nitrogen to the alga.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)287-296
Number of pages10
JournalEstuarine, Coastal and Shelf Science
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sept 1983


  • mud flats
  • Nitrogen cycle
  • nitrogen fixation
  • primary production
  • Scotland coast


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