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Anthropogenic nutrient sources and loads from a Mediterranean catchment into a coastal lagoon: Mar Menor, Spain

Garcia-Pintado, J., Martínez-Mena, M., Barberá, G. G., Albaladejo, J. and Castillo, V. M. (2007) Anthropogenic nutrient sources and loads from a Mediterranean catchment into a coastal lagoon: Mar Menor, Spain. Science of the Total Environment, 373 (1). pp. 220-239. ISSN 0048-9697

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To link to this article DOI: 10.1016/j.scitotenv.2006.10.046


The Mar Menor is a coastal lagoon increasingly threatened by urban and agricultural pressures. The main watercourse draining into the lagoon is the Rambla del Albujón. A fortnightly campaign carried out over one annual cycle enabled us to characterize the treated urban sewage effluents and agricultural sources which contribute to the nutrient fluxes in the watercourse. Multivariate analysis provided information for establishing chemical signatures and for assessing the relative influence of the various sources on the water quality at the outlet. Mass balances were used to examine net gains and losses, and cross-correlations with rainfall to analyze climatic influence and control factors in the trends of the nutrient flux. The rainfall pattern was significantly cross-correlated with nitrate and phosphorus fluxes from agricultural sources, while fluctuations in the resident population explained the phosphorus flux trend in urban sources. 50% of dissolved inorganic nitrogen was from agricultural sources, while 70% of total phosphate and 91% of total organic carbon were from urban point sources. The net amounts of all the nutrients fell as a result of plant uptake and/or denitrification in the channel. The control of urban point sources (phosphorus-enriched) is suggested as a promptly action for improving the health of the coastal lagoon.

Item Type:Article
Divisions:Faculty of Science > School of Mathematical, Physical and Computational Sciences > Environmental Systems Science Centre
ID Code:39601
Uncontrolled Keywords:Coastal lagoon

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