Elevated rates of organic carbon, nitrogen, and phosphorus accumulation in a highly impacted mangrove wetland

Christian J. Sanders, Bradley D. Eyre, Isaac R. Santos, Wilson MacHado, Wanilson Luiz-Silva, Joseph M. Smoak, Joshua L. Breithaupt, Michael E. Ketterer, Luciana Sanders, Humberto Marotta, Emmanoel Silva-Filho

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

120 Scopus citations


The effect of nutrient enrichment on mangrove sediment accretion and carbon accumulation rates is poorly understood. Here we quantify sediment accretion through radionuclide tracers to determine organic carbon (OC), total nitrogen (TN), and total phosphorus (TP) accumulation rates during the previous 60-years in both a nutrient-enriched and a pristine mangrove forest within the same geomorphological region of southeastern Brazil the forest receiving high nutrient loads has accumulated OC, TN, and TP at rates that are fourfold, twofold, and eightfold respectively, higher than those from the undisturbed mangrove. Organic carbon and TN stable isotopes (δ13C and δ15N) reflect an increased presence of organic matter (OM) originating with either phytoplankton, benthic algae, or another allochthonous source within the more rapidly accumulated sediments of the impacted mangrove. This suggests that the accumulation rate of OM in eutrophic mangrove systems may be enhanced through the addition of autochthonous and allochthonous nonmangrove material. Key Points High OC, N and P accumulation from impacted compared to pristine mangrove Carbon and N stable isotopes indicate diversified source of OM Mangrove migration may increase global OC, N, and P burial rates

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2475-2480
Number of pages6
JournalGeophysical Research Letters
Issue number7
StatePublished - Apr 16 2014


  • accumulation rates
  • chronostatigraphy
  • coastal Brazil
  • coastal eutrophication
  • mangrove
  • plutonium

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geophysics
  • General Earth and Planetary Sciences


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