Dissolved organic carbon (DOC) : Differences in reactivity amongst water sources to boreal streams in Sweden
Sammanfattning: The importance of dissolved organic carbon (DOC) to aquatic environments is well established in the scientific community. In boreal landscapes, small streams receive water from headwater lakes, mires, and discrete flow paths that drain riparian soils. The goal of this study was to investigate the importance of these discrete riparian inputs (DRIPs) as sources of DOC and to explore whether quantity and quality of DOC from DRIPs differs from other sources in the landscape, including groundwaters that are not as hydrologically connected to streams. To do this, I collected water from already established riparian groundwater wells installed at the Krycklan Catchment Study (KCS) in northern Sweden, as well as from an adjacent lake, stream, and mire. Microbial activity (respiration) was analyzed in 24-hour laboratory incubations using a metabolically active dye, resazurin (Raz) which in the presence of aerobic respiration transforms into resorufin (Rru). Rru is easily measured in the lab, and its production can serve as a proxy for rates of microbial respiration. DOC concentration was also measured at each location, along with specific absorbance at 254 nm (SUVA254) and the absorbance ratio (254/365 nm) as indices of DOC quality. The results show a large variation in DOC concentration among potential water sources to the stream. Furthermore, there was a strong correlation (R2=0.96) between Rru production and DOC concentration among these sources, but no significant difference (p=0.067) in median Rru production between DRIPs and non-DRIPs. Overall, these results highlight important spatial variability in DOC from different water sources in the landscape, which likely have important consequences for patterns of microbial respiration in streams.
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