Four river basins in southern Sweden, with catchment sizes from 0.3 to 127 km(2) (median 1.9), were sampled in October 2007. The 243 samples were analysed for 26 trace elements (Ag, As, Au, Ba, Be, Bi, Cd, Co, Cr, Cu, Ga, Ge, In, La, Li, Mo, Ni, Pb, Sb, Se, Sn, Tl, Ti, U, V and Zn) to identify spatial patterns within drainage networks. The range and median of each element were defined for different stream orders, and relationships to catchment characteristics, including deposition history, were explored. The sampling design made it possible to compare the differences along 40 stream reaches, above and below 53 stream junctions with 107 tributaries and between the 77 inlets and outlets of 36 lakes. The largest concentration differences (at reaches, junctions and lakes) were observed for lakes, with outlets usually having lower concentration compared to the inlets for As, Ba, Be, Bi, Cd, Co, Cr, Ga, Ge, Ni, Pb, Sn, Ti, Tl, U, V and Zn. Significantly lower concentrations were observed for Cd and Co when comparing headwaters with downstream sites in each catchment. Common factor analysis (FA) revealed that As, Bi, Cr, Ga, Ge, Tl and V co-vary positively with Al, Fe and total organic carbon (TOC) and negatively with La, Li and pH. The strong removal of a large number of trace elements when passing through lakes is evident though in the FA, where lake surface coverage plots opposite to many of those elements. Forest volume does not respond in a similar systematic fashion and, surprisingly, the amount of wetland does not relate strongly to either Fe or TOC at any of the rivers. A better understanding of the quantitative removal of organic carbon and iron will aid in understanding trace element fluxes from landscapes rich in organic matter and iron.
2013. Vol. 10, no 3, 1407-1423 p.