dissolved organic carbon
Springer Online Journal Archives 1860-2000
Chemistry and Pharmacology
Abstract Export of dissolved organic carbon (DOC) from forested catchmentsis governed by competing processes of production, decomposition, sorptionand flushing. To examine the sources of DOC, carbon isotopes (14Cand 13C) were analyzed in DOC from surface waters, groundwatersand soils in a small forested catchment on the Canadian Shield in centralOntario. A significant fraction (greater than 50%) of DOCin major inflows to the lake is composed of carbon incorporated into organicmatter, solubilized and flushed into the stream within the last 40 years. Incontrast, 14C in groundwater DOC was old indicating extensiverecycling of forest floor derived organic carbon in the soil column beforeelution to groundwater in the lower B and C soil horizons. A small uplandbasin had a wide range in 14C from old groundwater values atbaseflow under dry basin conditions to relatively modern values during highflow or wetter antecedent conditions. Wetlands export mainly recently fixedcarbon with little seasonal range. DOC in streams entering the small lakemay be composed of two pools; an older recalcitrant pool delivered bygroundwater and a young labile pool derived from recent organic matter.The relative proportion of these two pools changes seasonally due thechanges in the water flowpaths and organic carbon dynamics. Althoughchanges in local climate (temperature and/or precipitation) may alterthe relative proportions of the old and young pools, the older pool islikely to be more refractory to sedimentation and decomposition in thelake setting. Delivery of older pool DOC from the catchment andsusceptibility of this older pool to photochemical decomposition mayconsequently be important in governing the minimum DOC concentrationlimit in lakes.
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