Controls of Land Use and the River Continuum Concept on Dissolved Organic Matter Composition in an Anthropogenically Disturbed Subtropical Watershed


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berenike.bick [ at ] hifmb.de

Abstract

About 250 Tg of dissolved organic carbon are annually transported from inland waters to coastal systems making rivers a critical link between terrestrial and ocean carbon pools. During transport through fluvial systems, various biogeochemical processes selectively remove or transform labile material, effectively altering the composition of dissolved organic matter (DOM) exported to the ocean. The river continuum concept (RCC) has been historically used as a model to predict the fate and quality of organic matter along a river continuum. However, the conversion of natural landscapes for urban and agricultural practices can also alter the sources and quality of DOM exported from fluvial systems, and the RCC may be significantly limited in predicting DOM quality in anthropogenically impacted watersheds. Here, we studied DOM dynamics in the Altamaha River watershed in Georgia, USA, a fluvial system where headwater streams are highly impacted by anthropogenic activities. The primary goal of this study was to quantitatively assess the importance of both the RCC and land use as environmental drivers controlling DOM composition. Land use was a stronger predictor of spatial variation (∼50%) in DOM composition defined by both excitation–emission matrix–parallel factor analysis (EEM–PARAFAC) and ultrahigh-resolution mass spectrometry. This is compared to an 8% explained variability that can be attributed to the RCC. This study highlights the importance of incorporating land use among other controls into the RCC to better predict the fate and quality of DOM exported from terrestrial to coastal systems.



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ISI/Scopus peer-reviewed
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Published
Eprint ID
51412
DOI 10.1021/acs.est.9b04605

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Roebuck, J. A. , Seidel, M. , Dittmar, T. and Jaffé, R. (2019): Controls of Land Use and the River Continuum Concept on Dissolved Organic Matter Composition in an Anthropogenically Disturbed Subtropical Watershed , Environmental Science & Technology, 54 (1), pp. 195-206 . doi: 10.1021/acs.est.9b04605


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