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Source and Fate of Phosphorus in Everglades Wetland Ecosystems

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12-21-2012, 11:03 PM
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Source and Fate of Phosphorus in Everglades Wetland Ecosystems

Isotopic Evidence for the Source and Fate of Phosphorus in Everglades Wetland Ecosystems

Phosphorus has historically been a limiting nutrient in the Florida Everglades. Increased P loading to the Everglades over the past several decades has led to significant changes in water quality and plant communities. Stormwater runoff that drains agricultural lands and enters the Water Conservation Areas (WCAs) are known to contain elevated levels of P, but the exact source of this P has not been fully determined. Here the results of an O isotope study of dissolved inorganic phosphate (DIP) in both polluted and relatively pristine (or reference) areas of the Everglades are reported. The data reveal spatial and temporal variations in the delta 18O signature of DIP, reflecting the source and the degree of cycling of P. ... The study shows that O isotopic measurements of dissolved PO(exp 3-, sub 4) can be a useful tool for tracing the fertilizer P inputs to freshwater ecosystems.

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