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Biogéochimie et hydrologie d’une plage battue : la plage du Truc Vert : flux de matière dans les sédiments sableux intertidaux

Abstract : Biogeochemical studies in permeable sandy sediments are recent: the role of these environments in biogeochemical cycles was neglected because of their poverty in organic matter and the complexity of transient processes affecting them. Sandy beaches are subject to various physical forcings like tide, waves and connexion with continental groundwaters. Advection is the leading mode of transport. Huge volumes of organic matter-bearing seawater are potentially filtered by permeable intertidal sediments. The main objective of this study was to characterize biogeochemical processes induced by seawater recirculation and groundwater discharge in the intertidal zone of an exposed beach: the Truc Vert beach.Seasonal monitoring of pore water properties showed that aerobic respiration processes occurred in the seawater recirculation plume. Extrapolated to the 240 km-long Aquitanian coast, these processes represent each year an annual release of 610 tons of nitrate and 4400 tons of dissolved inorganic carbon, i.e. the equivalent of the Leyre input, a small river draining a catchment area of 2000 km2 at the southeast part of the Arcachon lagoon.The benthic macrofauna is dominated by Crustaceans. These organisms have a low impact on biogeochemical cycles: the contribution of benthic macrofauna on oxygen deficits observed in the lower beach pore waters is insignificant (< 2%). Biogeochemical fluxes observed in the intertidal zone are mainly induced by the aerobic respiration of microorganisms living in the sediment. Supported by regular tidal inputs of dissolved oxygen on the pore space, these processes varied seasonnally with temperature and organic matter availability.The deployment of autonomous probes into the sediment of the intertidal zone allowed us to clarify the short-term variability of pore water properties. Extension of the intertidal saline plume evolved with the tidal amplitude. Oxygen levels measured at a given point of the beach varied slightly with the lunar cycle. This work showed that aerobic respiration processes varied mainly at the seasonal scale. The local impact of weather and swell was also evidenced.We showed the presence of a subterranean estuary in the Truc Vert beach and its dynamics was explored through the deployment of wells in the upper beach. The input of continental freshwater represents an additional source of nitrate and dissolved inorganic carbon in the coastal ocean. Chemical properties of the fresh groundwater located upstream the beach indicated a decoupling between the salinity gradient and the redox bareer within the subterranean estuary, as well as an intense CO2 degassing at the dune.This study allows to better understand the processes occuring in sandy sediments of exposed beaches and will allow to develop complex numerical models linking hydrological and biogeochemical processes. This work also provides many perspectives on the role of sandy beaches, both locally (in case of pollution, for example) and on global biogeochemical cycles, especially in relation to global warming and sea-level rise (CO2 emissions and seawater intrusion in coastal aquifers).
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Submitted on : Friday, February 14, 2014 - 12:32:16 PM
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  • HAL Id : tel-00946913, version 1

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Céline Charbonnier. Biogéochimie et hydrologie d’une plage battue : la plage du Truc Vert : flux de matière dans les sédiments sableux intertidaux. Sciences de la Terre. Université Sciences et Technologies - Bordeaux I, 2013. Français. ⟨NNT : 2013BOR14916⟩. ⟨tel-00946913⟩

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