3rd UF Water Institute Symposium Abstract

Submitter's Name John Roberts
Session Name Posters - Nutrient dynamics and enrichment impacts in aquatic ecosystems 2
Category Nutrient dynamics and enrichment impacts in aquatic ecosystems
Poster Number 39
Author(s) John Roberts,  SFRC (Presenting Author)
  Michael Andreu,  SFRC
  Wayne Zipperer, USDA Forest Service
  Denitrification Potential within Riparian Zones of Urban Impacted Forests in the Tampa Bay Watershed
  Population growth and land use change has presented coastal areas with considerable challenges for the conservation of water resources while sustaining the communities. Urbanization and associated increase in impervious surfaces have been established to be detrimental to water quality. The major nutrient implicated for water quality deterioration in many water bodies in coastal regions, including our study site, is nitrogen (N). Riparian zones have been shown to have disproportionately greater denitrification rates relative to most other surrounding landscapes. Our research objective of this study is to determine the denitrification potential of common riparian forest types in a coastal-urban landscape. Due to anthropogenic alteration to vegetation and hydrology, riparian zones within relatively close proximity to urbanized areas will likely exhibit some degree of diminished denitrification potential relative to riparian zones in less disturbed rural areas. Prior research into forest communities within the Tampa Bay watershed will provide us with the information needed to select urban and analogous rural control sites. The sites will be monitored for their belowground water tables depth with perforated PVC wells with attached data loggers. Soil samples will be collected from varying distances perpendicular to the riparian zone, and the microbial denitrification potential of these soils will be measured using the acetylene block method. This method allows for the obtainment of denitrification enzyme activity (DEA) assays which will be analyzed by gas chromatography. The long-term goal is to understand the fate and transport of N in urbanized watersheds within a coastal plain environment and the role vegetation plays in improving water quality in urban areas. We believe the future results will provide some inference into the degree denitrification potential has been impacted by urbanization in the Tampa Bay watershed.