Article révisé par les pairs
Résumé : Ecological processes driving the oxygen budget were investigated in the downstream part of the Seine River and its estuary. Phytoplankton and bacterioplankton production were measured along longitudinal profiles (11 to 17 stations) in a range of low discharges from 300 m3 s21 in 1993 and 1995 to 140 m3 s21 in 1996. Values representative of the water column were based on investigations carried out during two tidal cycles. Net primary production was invariably greatest in the freshwater estuary, from Poses to Rouen (from 500 to 1,000 mg C l21 d21 between PK 202 and 240) and decreased sharply downstream (from 10 to 25 mg C l21 d21 between PK 250 and 310). This decrease was mainly due to the deterioration of the light conditions with the increase in depth and suspended matter concentrations. Heterotrophic activity was maximum in the reach where primary production declined. Judging by the production:respiration ratio (P:R), the system appeared clearly heterotrophic in the Seine River immediately downstream of the Paris region due to high allochthonous organic pollution by the incompletely treated Parisian effluents and in the part of the estuary characterized by intense degradation of autochthonous material. Because the effluents are not treated by a nitrification step, the oxygen consumption due to nitrification was much higher than expected from the P:R ratio. Oxidation of ammonium represented an oxygen consumption of between 1 and 14 g O2 m22 d21, almost equalling the sum of heterotrophic respirations that were barely balanced by photosynthesis. The reaeration flux at the water-atmosphere interface was deduced from the calculations and a reaeration coefficient was estimated.