Studying dissolved organic carbon export from the Penobscot Watershed in to Gulf of Maine using Regional Hydro-Ecological Simulation System (RHESSys)
Abstract:The movement of Dissolved Organic Carbon (DOC) from terrestrial system into aquatic system plays an important role for carbon sequestration in ecosystems and affects the formation of soil organic matters.Carbon cycling, storage, and transport to marine systems have become critical issues in global-change science, especially with regard to northern latitudes (Freeman et al., 2001; Benner et al., 2004). DOC, as an important composition of the carbon cycling, leaches from the terrestrial watersheds is a large source of marine DOC.
The Penobscot River basin in north-central Maine is the second largest watershed in New England, which drains in to Gulf of Maine. Approximately 89% of the watershed is forested (Griffith and Alerich, 1996).Studying temporal and spatial changes in DOC export can help us to understand terrestrial carbon cycling and to detect any shifts from carbon sink to carbon source or visa versa in northern latitude forested ecosystems.Despite for the importance of understanding carbon cycling in terrestrial and aquatic biogeochemistry, the Doc export, especially the combination of DOC production from bio-system and DOC transportation from the terrestrial in to stream has been lightly discussed in most conceptual or numerical models.
The Regional Hydro-Ecological Simulation System (RHESSys), which has been successfully applied in many study sites, is a physical process based terrestrial model that has the ability to simulate both the source and transportation of DOC by combining both hydrological and ecological processes.
The focus of this study is on simulating the DOC concentration and flux from the land to the water using RHESSys in the Penobscot watershed. The simulated results will be compared with field measurement of DOC from the watershed to explore the spatial and temporal DOC export pattern. This study will also enhance our knowledge to select sampling locations properly and also improve our understanding on DOC production and transportation in terrestrial forest ecosystem.