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Behind the Scenes: Mechanisms Regulating Climatic Patterns of Dissolved Organic Carbon Uptake in Headwater Streams
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Science and Technology, Biology, Department of Ecology and Genetics, Limnology. Catalan Inst Water Res ICRA, Girona, Spain.ORCID iD: 0000-0002-2433-4190
Univ Quebec Montreal, Dept Biol Sci, Grp Rech Interuniv Limnol, Montreal, PQ, Canada.
Ctr Edafol & Apply Biol Segura CEBAS CSIC, Murcia, Spain.
Univ Vic Cent Univ Catalonia, Aquat Ecol Grp, BETA Technol Ctr, Barcelona, Spain.
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2018 (English)In: Global Biogeochemical Cycles, ISSN 0886-6236, E-ISSN 1944-9224, Vol. 32, no 10, p. 1528-1541Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Large variability in dissolved organic carbon (DOC) uptake rates has been reported for headwater streams, but the causes of this variability are still not well understood. Here we assessed acetate uptake rates across 11 European streams comprising different ecoregions by using whole-reach pulse acetate additions. We evaluated the main climatic and biogeochemical drivers of acetate uptake during two seasonal periods. Our results show a minor influence of sampling periods but a strong effect of climate and dissolved organic matter (DOM) composition on acetate uptake. In particular, mean annual precipitation explained half of the variability of the acetate uptake velocities (Vf(Acetate)) across streams. Temperate streams presented the lowest Vf(Acetate), together with humic-like DOM and the highest stream respiration rates. In contrast, higher Vf(Acetate) were found in semiarid streams, with protein-like DOM, indicating a dominance of reactive, labile compounds. This, together with lower stream respiration rates and molar ratios of DOC to nitrate, suggests a strong C limitation in semiarid streams, likely due to reduced inputs from the catchment. Overall, this study highlights the interplay of climate and DOM composition and its relevance to understand the biogeochemical mechanisms controlling DOC uptake in streams. Plain Language Summary Headwater streams receive and degrade organic carbon and nutrients from the surrounding catchments. That degradation can be assessed by measuring the uptake of simple compounds of carbon or nitrogen such as acetate or nitrate. Here we determine the variability in acetate and nitrate uptake rates across headwater streams and elucidate the mechanisms behind that variability. The balance between nutrients, the composition of the organic materials present in the streams, and the climatic background is at interplay.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2018. Vol. 32, no 10, p. 1528-1541
Keywords [en]
uptake velocity, carbon cycling, metabolism, river ecosystems, DOM spectroscopy, spiraling metrics
National Category
Oceanography, Hydrology and Water Resources
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-371059DOI: 10.1029/2018GB005919ISI: 000450063500008OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-371059DiVA, id: diva2:1272700
Available from: 2018-12-19 Created: 2018-12-19 Last updated: 2018-12-19Bibliographically approved

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