Linking soil DOC production rates and transport processes from landscapes to sub-basin scales
Monday, 15 December 2014: 10:50 AM
Recent research rejects the traditional perspective that dissolved organic carbon (DOC) component in global carbon cycle are simply trivial, and in fact evidence demonstrates that lakes likely mediate carbon dynamics on a global scale. Riverine and estuarine carbon fluxes play a critical role in transporting and recycling carbon and nutrients, not only within watersheds but in their receiving waters. However, the underlying mechanisms that drive carbon fluxes, from land to rivers, lake and oceans, remain poorly understood. This presentation will report a research result of the scale-dependent DOC production rate in coastal watersheds and DOC transport processes in estuarine regions. We conducted a series of controlled experiments and field measurements for examining biogeochemical, biological, and geospatial variables that regulate downstream processing on global-relevant carbon fluxes. Results showed that increased temperatures and raised soil moistures accelerate decomposition rates of organic matter with significant variations between vegetation types. The measurements at meso-scale ecosystem demonstrated a good correlation to bulk concentration of DOC monitored in receiving waters at the outlets of sub-basins (R2 > 0.65). These field and experimental measurements improved the model of daily carbon exports through below-ground processes as a function of the organic matter content of surface soils, forest litter supply, and temperature. The study demonstrated a potential improvement in modeling the co-variance of CDOM and DOC with the unique terrestrial sources. This improvement indicated a significant promise for monitoring riverine and estuarine carbon flux from satellite images. The technical innovations include deployments of 1) mini-ecosystem (mesocosms) with soil as replicate controlled experiments for DOC production and leaching rates, and 2) aquatic mesocosms for co-variances of DOC and CDOM endmembers, and an instrumented incubation experiment for determining degradation rates.