Net ecosystem metabolism in a micro-tidal estuary (Randers Fjord, Denmark): Evaluation of methods

Frédéric Gazeau*, Alberto Vieira Borges, Cristina Barrón, Carlos M. Duarte, Niels Iversen, Jack J. Middelburg, Bruno Delille, Marie Dominique Pizay, Michel Frankignoulle, Jean Pierre Gattuso

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

80 Scopus citations


The metabolic status, the difference between organic matter production and consumption of an estuary (Randers Fjord, Denmark) has been assessed based on 2 field cruises in April and August 2001 and a number of approaches: (1) the oxygen (O2) incubation method, (2) dissolved inorganic carbon (DIC) budgets, (3) the response surface difference (RSD) method based on diel O 2 changes and (4) land-ocean interaction in the coastal zone (LOICZ) budgets based on dissolved inorganic phosphorus (DIP). Although each method has its own associated limitations and uncertainties, the above approaches converged most of the time in consistent metabolic estimates, both in sign and magnitude, and revealed that this system was near metabolic balance in spring (net ecosystem production: NEP ∼ 0) and net heterotrophic in summer (NEP ∼ -50 mmol C m-2 d-1). In this shallow estuary (mean depth = 1.6 m), the benthic compartment was very active and represented 70 and 30 % of the total gross primary production in April and August, respectively. NEP rates measured during this study are in the range of previously reported rates in estuaries.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)23-41
Number of pages19
StatePublished - Oct 11 2005
Externally publishedYes


  • Carbon dynamics
  • Ecosystem metabolism
  • Estuaries
  • Oxygen
  • Primary production
  • Randers Fjord
  • Respiration

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Aquatic Science
  • Ecology


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