Ammonium Uptake in Urban and Forested Headwater Streams
Gibson, Cathy A.
Meyer, Judy L.
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Land-use can affect nutrient loading to streams; however, there is little information about how land-use affects nutrient uptake processes in streams. Because headwater streams serve as regulators of water chemistry, it is important to consider how land-use alters nutrient removal capacity. We measured ammonium uptake and mass transfer coefficients in four forested and four urban headwater streams within the Upper Etowah River Basin, GA, during summer baseflow. Although discharge did not differ between stream types, urban streams had longer water residence times, were wider, and had more algal biomass than forested streams. Despite these physical and biotic differences that normally result in greater nutrient uptake, no significant difference was observed in ammonium uptake length or mass transfer coefficient in urban and forested streams.