Dissolved organic matter quantity and quality response of tropical rainforest headwater rivers to the transition from dry to wet season

S. Norouzi, Thomas Wagner, A. Macdonald, J. Bischoff, J. Brasche, S. Trojahn, J. Spray, R. Pereira

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Abstract

Dissolved organic matter (DOM) and its composition in aquatic ecosystems is a key indicator of ecosystem function and an important component of the global carbon cycle. Tropical rainforest headwaters play an important role in global carbon cycling. However, there is a large uncertainty on how DOM sources interact during mobilisation and the potential fate of associated carbon and nutrients. Using field techniques to measure dissolved organic carbon (DOC) concentration and composition, changes in DOM source from headwaters to larger downstream rivers were observed. This study shows that the hydrological connectivity, developed during the transition from dry to wet seasons, changes the DOM supply and transport across a tropical river catchment. The observed variability in the DOC-river discharge relationship provides further evidence of the changes in the DOM supply in a small headwater. This novel insight into the seasonal changes of the dynamics of DOM supply to the river helps understanding the mobilization of terrestrial DOM to tropical headwaters and its export from smaller to larger rivers. It also highlights the data gap in the study of smaller headwaters which may account for uncertainty in estimating the terrestrial carbon transported by inland waters.
Original languageEnglish
Article number3270
JournalScientific Reports
Volume14
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 8 Feb 2024

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