Studies on benthic denitrification in the Chwaka Bay mangrove sediments, Zanzibar


  • SM Mahommed Institute of Marine Sciences, University of Dar es Salaam, P.O. Box 668 Zanzibar, Tanzania
  • RW Johnstone Formerly of Stockholm University, S-106 91 Stockholm, Sweden


Denitrification was measured at three sites in a narrow tidal creek in the Chwaka mangrove ecosystem. Denitrification arising from water column nitrate (Dw) was low (< 0.1μM Nm-2h-1) and there was little spatial and seasonal variation in Dw rates in the creek. Coupled nitrification-denitrification (Dn) was found to be low, but within the range measured in other mangrove sediments. Average values ranged from 0.01 to 0.45 μM Nm-2h-1 and showed strong spatial variations. The low denitrifcation rates observed in the creek were possibly as a result of the low availability of NO3 and high C:N values of the organic matter in the sediment. Spatial variations in denitrification rates were due to variations in concentration levels of organic matter and possibly to disproportionate competition for inorganic nitrogen between denitrifiers and benthic autotrophs among sites. There were no seasonal differences in denitrification rates. Results from the present study suggest that sediment denitrification does not play a major role as a sink for N in this ecosystem




How to Cite

Mahommed, S. ., & Johnstone, R. . (2021). Studies on benthic denitrification in the Chwaka Bay mangrove sediments, Zanzibar. Tanzania Journal of Science, 28(1), 71–81. Retrieved from