Physico-chemical controls on phosphorus cycling in two lowland streams. Part 1 - the water column

D. J. Evans, P. Johnes

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

51 Citations (Scopus)


This paper investigates phosphorus (P) transport and transformation dynamics in two contrasting sub-catchments of the River Kennel, England. Samples were collected daily under baseflow and hourly under stormflow conditions using autosamplers for 2 years and analysed for a range of determinands (full P fractionation, suspended sediment (SS), cations, pH, alkalinity, temperature and oxygen). Concentrations of SRP, SUP, PP and SS were higher in the flashy River Enborne (means of 0.186, 0.071, 0.101 and 34 mg l(-1), respectively) than the groundwater-fed River Lambourn (0.079, 0.057, 0.028 and 9 mg l(-1), respectively). A seasonal trend in the daily P dataset was evident, with lower concentrations during intermediate flows and the spring (caused by a dilution effect and macrophyte uptake) than during baseflow conditions. However, in the hourly P dataset, highest concentrations were observed during storm events in the autumn and winter (reflecting higher scour with increased capacity to entrain particles). Storm events were more significant in contributing to the total P load in the River Enborne than the River Lambourn, especially during August to October, when dry antecedent conditions were observed in the catchment. Re-suspension of P-rich sediment that accumulated within the channel during summer low flows might account for these observations. It is suggested that a P-calcite co-precipitation mechanism was operating during summer in the River Lambourn, while adsorption by metal oxyhydroxide groups was an important mechanism controlling P fractionation in the River Enborne. The influence of flow conditions and channel storage/release mechanisms on P dynamics in these two lowland rivers is assessed. (C) 2004 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.
Original languageUndefined/Unknown
Pages (from-to)145-163
Number of pages19
JournalScience of The Total Environment
Issue number1-3
Publication statusPublished - 2004


  • phosphorus River Kennet River Lambourn River Enborne sediment transport storm events suspended sediment calcite-phosphorus co-precipitation metal oxyhydroxide adsorption AGRICULTURAL CATCHMENTS ION CONCENTRATIONS NATURAL-WATERS HUMBER RIVERS PHOSPHATE UK MANAGEMENT DYNAMICS LAKE COPRECIPITATION

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