Sediment-water interface nitrogen (N) transformations and water column ammonium cycling rates were measured along a stream to lake gradient at three sites within Old Woman Creek (OWC) and one near-shore Lake Erie site during two hydrological regimes: one with open flow to the lake after a rain event (July 2003), and another with a sand barrier blocking flow (July 2004). Net N2 effluxes in OWC at all times and at the near-shore Lake Erie site in July 2003 suggest that sediments are a N sink via denitrification. Observed dissimilatory nitrate reduction to ammonium (DNRA) may counteract some of this N removal, particularly when the creek mouth is closed. Upstream, a closed creek mouth led to higher sediment oxygen demand, net N2 flux, potential DNRA, and potential denitrification rates. The lake site exhibited lower rates of these processes with the creek mouth closed except denitrification potential, which was unchanged. Denitrification in OWC appeared to drive N limitation in the lower wet-land when the sand barrier was blocking flow to the lake. Higher potential versus in situ denitrification estimates imply that water column NO3− limits and drives denitrification in OWC. Water column to sediment regeneration ratios suggest that sediment recycling may drive primary production in the OWC interior when the creek mouth is closed and new N inputs from runoff are absent, but more data are needed to confirm these apparent trends. Overall, hydrological regime in OWC appeared to have a greater impact on sediment N processes than on water column cycling.
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