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Impact of salinity gradient, water pollution and land use types on greenhouse gas emissions from an urbanized estuary
Ho, L.; Barthel, M.; Panique-Casso, D.; Vermeulen, K.; Bruneel, S.; Liu, X.; Bodé, S.; Six, J.; Boeckx, P.; Goethals, P. (2023). Impact of salinity gradient, water pollution and land use types on greenhouse gas emissions from an urbanized estuary. Environ. Pollut. 336: 122500.
In: Environmental Pollution. Elsevier: Barking. ISSN 0269-7491; e-ISSN 1873-6424, more
Peer reviewed article  

Available in  Authors 

    Land use
    Pollution > Water pollution
    ANE, Scheldt Estuary [Marine Regions]
Author keywords
    Greenhouse gas; Estuary

Authors  Top 
  • Ho, L., more
  • Barthel, M.
  • Panique-Casso, D.
  • Vermeulen, K.
  • Bruneel, S., more
  • Liu, X.
  • Bodé, S., more
  • Six, J.
  • Boeckx, P., more
  • Goethals, P., more

    Estuaries have been recognized as one of the major sources of greenhouse gases (GHGs) in aquatic systems; yet we still lack insights into the impact of both anthropogenic and natural factors on the dynamics of GHG emissions. Here, we assessed the spatiotemporal dynamics and underlying drivers of the GHG emissions from the Scheldt Estuary with a focus on the effects of salinity gradient, water pollution, and land use types, together with their interaction. Overall, we found a negative impact of salinity on carbon dioxide (CO2) and nitrous oxide (N2O) emissions which can be due to the decrease of both salinity and water quality when moving upstream. Stronger impact of water pollution on the GHG emissions was found at the freshwater sites upstream compared to saline sites downstream. In particular, when water quality of the sites reduced from good, mainly located in the mouth and surrounded by arable sites, to polluted, mainly located in the upstream and surrounded by urban sites, CO2 emissions from the sites doubled while N2O emissions tripled. Similarly, the effects of water pollution on methane (CH4) emissions became much stronger in the freshwater sites compared to the saline sites. These decreasing effects from upstream to the mouth were associated with the increase in urbanization as sites surrounded by urban areas released on average almost two times more CO2 and N2O than sites surrounded by nature and industry areas. Applied machine learning methods also revealed that, in addition to salinity effects, nutrient and organic enrichment stimulated the GHG emissions from the Scheldt Estuary. These findings highlight the importance of the interaction between salinity, water pollution, and land use in order to understand their influences on GHG emissions from dynamic estuarine systems.

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