To send content items to your account,
please confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies.
If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your account.
Find out more about sending content to .
To send content items to your Kindle, first ensure firstname.lastname@example.org
is added to your Approved Personal Document E-mail List under your Personal Document Settings
on the Manage Your Content and Devices page of your Amazon account. Then enter the ‘name’ part
of your Kindle email address below.
Find out more about sending to your Kindle.
Note you can select to send to either the @free.kindle.com or @kindle.com variations.
‘@free.kindle.com’ emails are free but can only be sent to your device when it is connected to wi-fi.
‘@kindle.com’ emails can be delivered even when you are not connected to wi-fi, but note that service fees apply.
Freshwater ecosystems play a key role in the European nitrogen (N) cycle, both as a reactive agent that transfers, stores and processes N loadings from the atmosphere and terrestrial ecosystems, and as a natural environment severely impacted by the increase of these loadings.
This chapter is a review of major processes and factors controlling N transport and transformations for running waters, standing waters, groundwaters and riparian wetlands.
Key findings/state of knowledge
The major factor controlling N processes in freshwater ecosystems is the residence time of water, which varies widely both in space and in time, and which is sensitive to changes in climate, land use and management.
The effects of increased N loadings to European freshwaters include acidification in semi-natural environments, and eutrophication in more disturbed ecosystems, with associated loss of biodiversity in both cases.
An important part of the nitrogen transferred by surface waters is in the form of organic N, as dissolved organic N (DON) and particulate organic N (PON). This part is dominant in semi-natural catchments throughout Europe and remains a significant component of the total N load even in nitrate enriched rivers.
In eutrophicated standing freshwaters N can be a factor limiting or co-limiting biological production, and control of both N and phosphorus (P) loading is often needed in impacted areas, if ecological quality is to be restored.
Most regional watersheds in Europe constitute managed human territories importing large amounts of new reactive nitrogen.
As a consequence, groundwater, surface freshwater and coastal seawater are undergoing severe nitrogen contamination and/or eutrophication problems.
A comprehensive evaluation of net anthropogenic inputs of reactive nitrogen (NANI) through atmospheric deposition, crop N fixation, fertiliser use and import of food and feed has been carried out for all European watersheds. A database on N, P and Si fluxes delivered at the basin outlets has been assembled.
A number of modelling approaches based on either statistical regression analysis or mechanistic description of the processes involved in nitrogen transfer and transformations have been developed for relating N inputs to watersheds to outputs into coastal marine ecosystems.
Key findings/state of knowledge
Throughout Europe, NANI represents 3700 kgN/km²/yr (range, 0–8400 depending on the watershed), i.e. five times the background rate of natural N2 fixation.
A mean of approximately 78% of NANI does not reach the basin outlet, but instead is stored (in soils, sediments or ground water) or eliminated to the atmosphere as reactive N forms or as N2.
N delivery to the European marine coastal zone totals 810 kgN/km²/yr (range, 200–4000 depending on the watershed), about four times the natural background. In areas of limited availability of silica, these inputs cause harmful algal blooms.
Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this to your organisation's collection.