Stephanie J. Wilson, Smithsonian Environmental Research Center
Amy Moody, Environmental Protection Agency
Tristan McKenzie, University of Gothenburg
M. Bayani Cardenas, University of Texas at Austin
Elco Luijendijk, University of Bergen
Audrey H. Sawyer, Ohio State University
Alicia Wilson, University of South Carolina
Holly A. Michael, University of Delaware
Bochao Xu, Ocean University of China
Karen L. Knee, American University
Hyung-Mi Cho, Inha University
Yishai Weinstein, Bar-Ilan University
Adina Paytan, University of California at Santa Cruz
Nils Moosdorf, Leibniz Centre for Tropical Marine Research
Chen-Tung Aurthur Chen, National Sun Yat-Sen University
Melanie Beck, Carl von Ossietzky Universität
Cody Lopez, Texas A & M University
Dorina Murgulet, Texas A & M University
Guebuem Kim, Seoul National University
Mathew A. Charette, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution
Hannelore Waska, Institute for Chemistry and Biology of the Marine Environment (ICBM)
J. Severino P. Ibánhez, Spanish Council for Scientific Research (IIM-CSIC)
Gwénaëlle Chaillou, University of Quebec
Till Oehler, Leibniz Centre for Tropical Marine Research
Shin-ichi Onodera, Hiroshima University
Mitsuyo Saito, Hiroshima University
Valenti Rodellas, Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona
Natasha Dimova, University of Alabama
Daniel Montiel, University of Alabama
Henrietta Dulai, University of Hawaii
Christina Richardson, University of California, Santa Cruz
Jinzhou Du, East China Normal University
Eric Petermann, Federal Office For Radiation Protection
Xiaogang Chen, Westlake University
Kay L. Davis, Australian Institute of Marine Science
Sebastien Lamontagne, The Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation
Ryo Sugimoto, Fukui Prefectural University
Guizhi Wang, Xiamen University
Hailong Li, Southern University of Science and Technology
Américo I. Torres, Centro para el Estudio de Sistemas Marinos CCT-CONICET CENPAT
Cansu Demir, University of Texas at Austin
Emily Bristol, University of Texas at Austin
Craig T. Connolly, University of Texas at Austin
James W. McClelland, University of Texas at Austin
Brenno J. Silva, Federal University of Pernambuco
Douglas Tait, Southern Cross University
BSK Kumar, Council of Scientific and Industrial Research
R. Viswanadham, Council of Scientific and Industrial Research
VVSS Sarma, Council of Scientific and Industrial Research
Emmanoel Silva-Filho, Universidade Federal Fluminense
Alan Shiller, University of Southern Mississippi
Alanna Lecher, Lynn University
Joseph Tamborski, Old Dominion UniversityFollow
Henry Bokuniewicz, Stony Brook University
Carlos Rocha, Trinity College Dublin
Anja Reckhardt, Carl von Ossietzky Universität
Michael Ernst Böttcher, Old Dominion University
Shan Jiang, Federal Office for Radiation Protection
Laura M. Hernández-Terrones, Universidad del Caribe
Suresh Babu, Ministry of Earth Sciences
Beata Szmczycha, Institute of Oceanology Polish Academy of Sciences
Mahmood Sadat-Noori, University of New South Wales
Felipe Niencheski, Universidade Federal do Rio Grande
Kimberly Null, Moss Landing Marine Labs
Craig Tobias, University of Connecticut
Bongkeun Song, Virginia Institute of Marine Science
Iris C. Anderson, Virginia Institute of Marine Science
Isaac R. Santos, Southern Cross University


0000-0003-2422-3252 (Tamborski), 0000-0002-8877-0303 (Böttcher)

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Publication Title

Limnology and Oceanography Letters


Article in Press




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.


© 2024 The Authors.

This is an open access article under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0) License, which permits use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Data Availability

Article states: "The data used for this meta-analysis, including all raw data used and characteristics determined for each site, have beensubmitted to the Pangaea data repository ( The data have also been published as an open-accessShiny App, which allows for interactive visualization and exploration of data by site or variable ( Supporting Information may be found in the online version of this article."

Original Publication Citation

Wilson, S. J., Moody, A., McKenzie, T., Cardenas, M. B., Luijendijk, E., Sawyer, A. H., Wilson, A., Michael, H. A., Xu, B. C., Knee, K. L., Cho, H. M., Weinstein, Y., Paytan, A., Moosdorf, N., Chen, C. T. A., Beck, M., Lopez, C., Murgulet, D., Kim, G., . . . Santos, I. R. (2024). Global subterranean estuaries modify groundwater nutrient loading to the ocean. Limnology and Oceanography Letters. Advance online publication.