Estuarine coastal and shelf science vol:64 issue:4 pages:591-600
To unravel the factors that regulate DOC dynamics in the freshwater tidal reaches of the Schelde estuary, DOC concentration and biodegradability were monitored in the upper Schelde estuary and its major tributaries. Although the Schelde estuary possesses a densely populated and industrialized catchment, our data suggest that the bulk of DOC in the freshwater tidal reaches is not derived from waste water. This was concluded from the low biodegradability of DOC (on average 9%), DOC concentrations that are close to the mean for European rivers (4.61 mg 1(-1)) and the absence of an inverse relationship between DOC and discharge. Most DOC originating from waste water being discharged in tributaries of the estuary appears to be remineralised before these tributaries reach the main estuary. Although dense phytoplankton blooms were observed in the upper estuary during summer (up to 700 mu g chl a 1(-1)), these blooms did not appear to produce large quantities of DOC in the freshwater tidal reaches as DOC concentrations were low when phytoplankton biomass was high. The fact that DOC concentrations were high in winter and decreased in summer suggests a predominantly terrestrial source of DOC in the freshwater tidal reaches of the Schelde estuary. (c) 2005 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.