Using low-grade weirs as a BMP: Effects on nutrient remediation and microbial denitrification

Author(s): Poganski, B.; Kröger, R.

Although the term “anthropogenic influence” often has a negative connotation surrounding it, it encompasses all human influences to the environment, including flood control, restoration, and conservation practices. Interestingly, in addition to land use purposes, water management practices, such as BMPs, can also influence factors affecting denitrification. A study was conducted evaluating the composition of microbial communities involved in key processes of denitrification following physiochemical changes introduced by low-grade weir implementation. Investigations of functional genes involved in denitrification via quantitative polymerase-chain reaction (qPCR) included those encoding for subunits of nitrate reductase (nirK, nirS) and nitrous oxide (nosZ). Understanding how low-grade weirs alter drainage environments in such a way that impacts microbial community structure and function, and subsequent nutrient transformations, which will advance engineering and remediation strategies. Understanding the impacts of low-grade weirs on nutrient reduction capacities will also provide a greater understanding of how to improve nutrient management strategies to reduce Gulf of Mexico hypoxia.

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