Global subterranean estuaries modify groundwater nutrient loading to the ocean

Stephanie J. Wilson, Amy Moody, Tristan McKenzie, M. Bayani Cardenas, Elco Luijendijk, Audrey H. Sawyer, Alicia Wilson, Holly A. Michael, Bochao Xu, Karen L. Knee, Hyung Mi Cho, Yishai Weinstein, Adina Paytan, Nils Moosdorf, Chen Tung Aurthur Chen, Melanie Beck, Cody Lopez, Dorina Murgulet, Guebuem Kim, Mathew A. CharetteHannelore Waska, J. Severino P. Ibánhez, Gwénaëlle Chaillou, Till Oehler, Shin ichi Onodera, Mitsuyo Saito, Valenti Rodellas, Natasha Dimova, Daniel Montiel, Henrietta Dulai, Christina Richardson, Jinzhou Du, Eric Petermann, Xiaogang Chen, Kay L. Davis, Sebastien Lamontagne, Ryo Sugimoto, Guizhi Wang, Hailong Li, Américo I. Torres, Cansu Demir, Emily Bristol, Craig T. Connolly, James W. McClelland, Brenno J. Silva, Douglas Tait, B. S.K. Kumar, R. Viswanadham, V. V.S.S. Sarma, Emmanoel Silva-Filho, Alan Shiller, Alanna Lecher, Joseph Tamborski, Henry Bokuniewicz, Carlos Rocha, Anja Reckhardt, Michael Ernst Böttcher, Shan Jiang, Thomas Stieglitz, Houégnon Géraud Vinel Gbewezoun, Céline Charbonnier, Pierre Anschutz, Laura M. Hernández-Terrones, Suresh Babu, Beata Szymczycha, Mahmood Sadat-Noori, Felipe Niencheski, Kimberly Null, Craig Tobias, Bongkeun Song, Iris C. Anderson, Isaac R. Santos

Research output: Contribution to journalLetterpeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Terrestrial groundwater travels through subterranean estuaries before reaching the sea. Groundwater-derived nutrients drive coastal water quality, primary production, and eutrophication. We determined how dissolved inorganic nitrogen (DIN), dissolved inorganic phosphorus (DIP), and dissolved organic nitrogen (DON) are transformed within subterranean estuaries and estimated submarine groundwater discharge (SGD) nutrient loads compiling > 10,000 groundwater samples from 216 sites worldwide. Nutrients exhibited complex, nonconservative behavior in subterranean estuaries. Fresh groundwater DIN and DIP are usually produced, and DON is consumed during transport. Median total SGD (saline and fresh) fluxes globally were 5.4, 2.6, and 0.18 Tmol yr−1 for DIN, DON, and DIP, respectively. Despite large natural variability, total SGD fluxes likely exceed global riverine nutrient export. Fresh SGD is a small source of new nutrients, but saline SGD is an important source of mostly recycled nutrients. Nutrients exported via SGD via subterranean estuaries are critical to coastal biogeochemistry and a significant nutrient source to the oceans.

Original languageEnglish
JournalLimnology And Oceanography Letters
StateAccepted/In press - 2024

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2024 The Authors. Limnology and Oceanography Letters published by Wiley Periodicals LLC on behalf of Association for the Sciences of Limnology and Oceanography.


Dive into the research topics of 'Global subterranean estuaries modify groundwater nutrient loading to the ocean'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this