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Internal loading potential of phosphorus in reservoirs along a semiarid watershed.

Moura, Diana Souza; Almeida, Antonia Samylla Oliveira De; Pestana, Carlos João; Girão, Laura Gomes; Capelo-Neto, José


Diana Souza Moura

Antonia Samylla Oliveira De Almeida

Laura Gomes Girão

José Capelo-Neto


Sediments are important to nutrient dynamics, especially due to phosphorus internal loading. Several studies have observed that internal loading could prevent water quality from improving in lakes, even when external phosphorus loading is significantly decreased. Therefore, there is an urgent need to assess the potential release of phosphorus contained in the sediment, and thus, its potential to impact water quality. In this study, the vertical and horizontal distributions of distinct phosphorus forms in the bottom sediments of artificial reservoirs, located at Forquilha watershed (Ceara, Brazil), were investigated through sequential chemical fractionation. The reservoirs Lagoa Cercada (R#1), Riacho do Algodao (R#2), Riacho Verde (R#3), Cachoeira (R#4), Chagas Manu (R#5), Quandu (R#6) and Balancas (R#7) were investigated. Reservoirs R#1 (most downstream reservoir of the watershed) and R#7 (most upstream reservoir of the watershed) had higher concentrations of total phosphorus (P-T) and lower pH values, potentially exerting greater influence in phosphorus concentration in the water column. Reservoirs R#3 and R#4 presented a predominance of residual phosphorus (P-Re), the least available fractions of phosphorus and thus, presented a lower potential for internal loading. Reservoirs R#5, R#1 and R#2 showed a tendency of decreasing total phosphorus (P-T) as the sediment depth increased, probably indicating an increase of allochthonous phosphorus loading along time. Reservoir R#6 showed the predominance of P-FeAl and P-Ca fractions on points A and B, respectively, showing that the characteristics of the sediments may vary in the same reservoir. Mobile (P-M) and iron and aluminum-bound phosphorus (P-FeAl) were the least and the most abundant fractions in most of the samples analyzed, respectively.

Journal Article Type Article
Publication Date Dec 31, 2020
Journal Revista Brasileira de recursos hidricos
Print ISSN 1414-381X
Electronic ISSN 2318-0331
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 25
Article Number e13
Institution Citation MOURA, D.S., ALMEIDA, A.S.O.D., PESTANA, C.J., GIRÃO, L.G., and CAPELO-NETO, J. 2020. Internal loading potential of phosphorus in reservoirs along a semiarid watershed. Revista Brasileira de recursos hídricos [online], 25, article ID e13. Available from:
Keywords Water quality; Bottom sediment; Phosphorus availability; Eutrophication potential


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