Nonlinear and Synchronous Dissolved Organic Matter Dynamics in Streams Across an Agriculture Land Use and Climate Setting

Friday, 19 December 2014
Marguerite A. Xenopoulos and Richard J Vogt, Trent University, Peterborough, ON, Canada
There is now increasing evidence that non-linearity is a common response in ecological systems to pressures caused by human activities. There is also increasing evidence that exogenous environmental drivers, such as climate, induce spatial and temporal synchrony in a wide range of ecological variables. Using Moran’s I and Pearson’s correlation, we quantified the synchrony of dissolved organic carbon concentration (DOC) and quality (DOM; e.g., specific UV absorbance, Fluorescence Index, PARAFAC), nutrients, discharge and temperature in 40 streams that span an agriculture gradient (0 to >70% cropland), over 10 years. We then used breakpoint regression, 2D-Kolmogorov-Smirnov test and significant zero crossings (SiZer) analyses to quantify the prevalence of nonlinearity and ecological thresholds (breakpoints) where applicable. There was a high degree of synchrony in DOM quality (r > 0.7) but not DOC (r < 0.4). The degree of synchrony was driven in part by the catchment’s land use. With respect to the nonlinear analyses we found non-linearity in ~50% of bivariate datasets analyzed. Non-linearity was also driven in part by the catchment’s land use. Breakpoints defined different DOM properties. Nonlinearity and synchronous behaviour in DOM are intimately linked to land use.