Browning of Boreal Freshwaters Coupled to Carbon-Iron Interactions along the Aquatic Continuum
2014 (English)In: PLoS ONE, ISSN 1932-6203, Vol. 9, no 2, e88104- p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
The color of freshwaters, often measured as absorbance, influences a number of ecosystem services including biodiversity, fish production, and drinking water quality. Many countries have recently reported on increasing trends of water color in freshwaters, for which drivers are still not fully understood. We show here with more than 58000 water samples from the boreal and hemiboreal region of Sweden and Canada that absorbance of filtered water (a(420)) co-varied with dissolved organic carbon (DOC) concentrations (R-2 = 0.85, P<0.0001), but that a(420) relative to DOC is increased by the presence of iron (Fe). We found that concentrations of Fe significantly declined with increasing water retention in the landscape, resulting in significantly lower Fe concentrations in lakes compared to running waters. The Fe loss along the aquatic continuum corresponded to a proportional loss in a(420), suggesting a tight biogeochemical coupling between colored dissolved organic matter and Fe. Since water is being flushed at increasing rates due to enhanced runoff in the studied regions, diminished loss of Fe along the aquatic continuum may be one reason for observed trends in a(420), and in particular in a(420)/DOC increases. If trends of increased Fe concentrations in freshwaters continue, water color will further increase with various effects on ecosystem services and biogeochemical cycles.
Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2014. Vol. 9, no 2, e88104- p.
IdentifiersURN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-220789DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0088104ISI: 000330829200118OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-220789DiVA: diva2:706810