Holocene Refreshening and Reoxygenation of a Bothnian Sea Estuary Led to Enhanced Phosphorus Burial

Nikki Dijkstra, Nadine B. Quintana Krupinski, Masako Yamane, Stephen P. Obrochta, Yosuke Miyairi, Yusuke Yokoyama, Caroline P. Slomp

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Citations (SciVal)


Salinity variations in restricted basins like the Baltic Sea can alter their vulnerability to hypoxia (i.e., bottom water oxygen concentrations <2 mg/l) and can affect the burial of phosphorus (P), a key nutrient for marine organisms. We combine porewater and solid-phase geochemistry, micro-analysis of sieved sediments (including XRD and synchrotron-based XAS), and foraminiferal δ18O and δ13C analyses to reconstruct the bottom water salinity, redox conditions, and P burial in the Ångermanälven estuary, Bothnian Sea. Our sediment records were retrieved during the Integrated Ocean Drilling Program (IODP) Baltic Sea Paleoenvironment Expedition 347 in 2013. We demonstrate that bottom waters in the Ångermanälven estuary became anoxic upon the intrusion of seawater in the early Holocene, like in the central Bothnian Sea. The subsequent refreshening and reoxygenation, which was caused by gradual isostatic uplift, promoted P burial in the sediment in the form of Mn-rich vivianite. Vivianite authigenesis in the surface sediments of the more isolated part of the estuary ultimately ceased, likely due to continued refreshening and an associated decline in productivity and P supply to the sediment. The observed shifts in environmental conditions also created conditions for post-depositional formation of authigenic vivianite, and possibly apatite formation, at ∼8 m composite depth. These salinity-related changes in redox conditions and P burial are highly relevant in light of current climate change. The results specifically highlight that increased freshwater input linked to global warming may enhance coastal P retention, thereby contributing to oligotrophication in both coastal and adjacent open waters.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)139-157
JournalEstuaries and Coasts
Issue number1
Early online date2017 Jun 21
Publication statusPublished - 2018 Jan

Subject classification (UKÄ)

  • Oceanography, Hydrology, Water Resources


  • Anoxia
  • Baltic Sea Basin Paleoenvironment
  • Integrated Ocean Drilling Program
  • Phosphorus burial
  • Vivianite
  • Ångermanälven estuary


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