Advertisement

Biogeochemistry

, Volume 95, Issue 2–3, pp 295–307 | Cite as

Dissolved organic carbon in streams from artificially drained and intensively farmed watersheds in Indiana, USA

  • Thomas J. Warrner
  • Todd V. Royer
  • Jennifer L. Tank
  • Natalie A. Griffiths
  • Emma J. Rosi-Marshall
  • Matt R. Whiles
Article

Abstract

Dissolved organic carbon (DOC) in streams draining hydrologically modified and intensively farmed watersheds has not been well examined, despite the importance of these watersheds to water quality issues and the potential of agricultural soils to sequester carbon. We investigated the dynamics of DOC for 14 months during 2006 and 2007 in 6 headwater streams in a heavily agricultural and tile-drained landscape in the midwestern US. We also monitored total dissolved nitrogen (TDN) in the streams and tile drains. The concentrations of DOC in the streams and tile drains ranged from approximately 1–6 mg L−1, while concentrations of TDN, the composition of which averaged >94% nitrate, ranged from <1 to >10 mg L−1. Tile drains transported both DOC and TDN to the streams, but tile inputs of dissolved N were diluted by stream water, whereas DOC concentrations were generally greater in the streams than in tile drains. Filamentous algae were dense during summer base flow periods, but did not appear to contribute to the bulk DOC pool in the streams, based on diel monitoring. Short-term laboratory assays indicated that DOC in the streams was of low bioavailability, although DOC from tile drains in summer had bioavailability of 27%. We suggest that these nutrient-rich agricultural streams are well-suited for examining how increased inputs of DOC, a potential result of carbon sequestration in agricultural soils, could influence ecosystem processes.

Keywords

Agriculture Algae Dissolved organic carbon Indiana Nitrogen Stream Tile drain SUVA Allochthonous Autochthonous Bioavailability 

Notes

Acknowledgments

We thank Michelle Evans-White, Kristin Gardner, Chris Hartman, Kristin Nichols, and Mia Stephen for assistance in the field and laboratory. Laura T. Johnson and three anonymous reviewers provided many helpful suggestions on a draft of the paper. Funding was provided by the National Science Foundation, DEB-0415984.

References

  1. Alexander RB, Smith RA, Schwarz GE, Boyer EW, Nolan JV, Brakebill JW (2008) Differences in phosphorus and nitrogen delivery to the Gulf of Mexico from the Mississippi River basin. Environ Sci Technol 42:822–830CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Bernhardt ES, Likens GE (2002) Dissolved organic carbon enrichment alters nitrogen dynamics in a forest stream. Ecology 83:1689–1700Google Scholar
  3. Cronan CS, Piampiano JT, Patterson HH (1999) Influence of land use and hydrology on exports of carbon and nitrogen in a Maine river basin. J Environ Qual 28:953–961CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Dalzell BJ, Filley TR, Harbor JM (2005) Flood pulse influences on terrestrial organic matter export from an agricultural watershed. J Geophys Res 110:G02011. doi: 10.1029/2005JG000043 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Dalzell BJ, Filley TR, Harbor JM (2007) The role of hydrology in annual organic carbon loads and terrestrial organic matter export from a midwestern agricultural watershed. Geochim Cosmochim Acta 71:1448–1462CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. David MB, Vance GF, Kahl JS (1992) Chemistry of dissolved organic carbon and organic acids in two streams draining forested watersheds. Water Resour Res 28:389–396CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. David MB, Gentry LE, Kovacic DA, Smith KM (1997) Nitrogen balance in and export from an agricultural watershed. J Environ Qual 26:1038–1048Google Scholar
  8. del Giorgio PA, Pace ML (2008) Relative independence of dissolved organic carbon transport and processing in a large temperate river: The Hudson River as both pipe and reactor. Limnol Oceanogr 53:185–197Google Scholar
  9. Donigian AS, Barnwell TO, Jackson RB, Patwardhan AS, Weinreich KB, Rowell AL, Chinnsawamy RV, Cole CV (1994) Assessment of alternative management practices and policies affecting soil carbon in agroecosystems of the central United States. Publication EPA/600/R-94/067, US Environmental Protection Agency, Athens, GeorgiaGoogle Scholar
  10. Eckhardt BW, Moore TR (1990) Controls on dissolved organic carbon concentrations in streams, southern Quebec. Can J Fish Aqua Sci 47:1537–1544Google Scholar
  11. Edwards RT, Meyer JL (1987) Metabolism of a sub-tropical low gradient blackwater river. Freshwat Biol 17:251–263CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Fausey NR, Brown LC, Belcher HW, Kanwar RS (1995) Drainage and water quality in Great Lakes and cornbelt states. J Irrig Drain Eng 121:283–288CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Fellman JB, D’Amore DV, Hood E (2008) An evaluation of freezing as a preservation technique for analyzing dissolved organic C, N and P in surface water samples. Sci Tot Environ 392:305–312CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Findlay SEG, Sinsabaugh RL (2003) Aquatic ecosystems: interactivity of dissolved organic matter. Academic Press, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  15. Findaly S, Quinn JM, Hickey CW, Burrell G, Downes M (2001) Effects of land use and riparian flowpath on delivery of dissolved organic carbon to streams. Limnol Oceanogr 46:345–355CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Frost PC, Larson JH, Kinsman LE, Lamberti GA, Bridgham SD (2005) Attenuation of ultraviolet radiation in streams of northern Michigan. J North Am Benthol Soc 24:246–255CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Goolsby DA, Battaglin WA, Lawrence GB, Artz RS, Aulenbach BT, Hooper RP, Keeney DR, Stensland GJ (1999) Flux and sources of nutrients in the Mississippi-Atchafalaya River Basin—Topic 3 report for the integrated assessment on hypoxia in the Gulf of Mexico. NOAA Coastal Ocean Office, Silver SpringGoogle Scholar
  18. Grace PR, Colunga-Garcia M, Gage SH, Robertson GP, Safir GR (2006) The potential impact of agricultural management and climate change on soil organic carbon of the north central region of the United States. Ecosystems 9:816–827CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Hood E, Gooseff MN, Johnson SL (2006) Changes in the character of stream water dissolved organic carbon during flushing in three small watersheds, Oregon. J Geophys Res 111:G01007. doi: 10.1029/2005JG000082 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Hope D, Billett MF, Cresser MS (1994) A review of the export of carbon in river water: fluxes and processes. Environ Pollut 84:301–324CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Inamdar SP, Mitchell MJ (2006) Hydrologic and topographic controls on storm-event exports of dissolved organic carbon (DOC) and nitrate across catchment scales. Water Resour Res 42:1–16CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Jacinthe PA, Lal R, Kimble JM (2001) Organic carbon storage and dynamics in croplands and terrestrial deposits as influenced by subsurface tile drainage. Soil Sci 166:322–335CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Jaffé R, McKnight D, Maie N, Cory R, McDowell WH, Campbell JL (2008) Spatial and temporal variations in DOM composition in ecosystems: the importance of long-term monitoring of optical properites. J Geophys Res 113:G04032. doi: 10.1029/2008JG000683 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Jaynes DB, Colvin TS, Karlen DL, Cambardella CA, Meek DW (2001) Nitrate loss in subsurface drainage as affected by nitrogen fertilizer rate. J Environ Qual 30:1305–1314CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Kalita PK, Algoazany AS, Mitchell JK, Cooke RAC, Hirschi MC (2006) Subsurface water quality from a flat tile-drained watershed in Illinois, USA. Agriculture, Ecosystems and Environ 115:183–193CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Kaplan LA, Bott TL (1982) Diel fluctuation of DOC generated by algae in a piedmont stream. Limnol Oceanogr 27:1091–1100Google Scholar
  27. Kaplan LA, Bott TL (1989) Diel fluctuations in bacterial activity on streambed substrata during vernal algal blooms: effects of temperature, water chemistry, and habitat. Limnol Oceanogr 34:718–733Google Scholar
  28. Kern JS, Johnson MG (1993) Conservation tillage impacts on national soil and atmospheric carbon levels. Soil Sci Soc Am J 57:200–210Google Scholar
  29. Lal R, Kimble JM, Follett RF, Cole CV (1998) The potential of U.S. cropland to sequester carbon and mitigate the greenhouse effect. Ann Arbor Press, ChelseaGoogle Scholar
  30. Lal R (2002) Why carbon sequestration in agricultural soils. In: Kimble JM, Lal R, Follett RF (eds) Agricultural practices and policies for carbon sequestration in soil. Lewis Publishers, Boca Raton, FL, pp 21–30Google Scholar
  31. Mayer LM, Schick LL, Skorko K (2006) Photodissolution of particulate organic matter from sediments. Limnol Oceanogr 51:1064–1071CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Meyer JL, Likens GE (1979) Transport and transformation of phosphorus in a forest stream ecosystem. Ecology 60:1255–1269CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. McDowell WH, Likens GE (1988) Origin, composition, and flux of dissolved organic carbon in the Hubbard Brook Valley. Ecol Monogr 58:177–195CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Mulholland PJ, Hill WR (1997) Seasonal patterns in streamwater nutrient and dissolved organic carbon concentrations: separating catchment flow path and in-stream effects. Water Resour Res 33:1297–1306CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Perdue EM, Beck KC, Reuter JH (1976) Organic complexes of iron and aluminum in natural waters. Nature 260:418–420CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Platts WS, Megahan WF, Minshall GW (1983) Methods for evaluating stream, riparian, and biotic conditions. General Technical Report INT-138, U.S. Forest Service, Ogden, UtahGoogle Scholar
  37. Randall GW, Goss MJ (2001) Nitrate losses to surface water through subsurface, tile drainage. In: Follett RF, Hatfield JL (eds) Nitrogen in the environment: sources, problems, and management. Elsevier, New York, pp 95–122CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Royer TV, David MB (2005) Export of dissolved organic carbon from agricultural streams in Illinois, USA. Aquatic Sci 67:465–471Google Scholar
  39. Royer TV, David MB, Gentry LE (2006) Timing of riverine export of nitrate and phosphorus from agricultural watersheds in Illinois: implications for reducing nutrient loading to the Mississippi River. Environ Sci Technol 40:4126–4131CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Sobczak WV, Findlay S, Dye S (2002) Relationship between DOC bioavailability and nitrate removal in an upland stream: an experimental approach. Biogeochem 62:309–327CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Stone WW, Wilson JT (2006) Preferential flow estimates to an agricultural tile drain with implications for glyphosate transport. J Environ Qual 35:1825–1835CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Sun L, Perdue EM, Meyer JL, Weis J (1997) Use of elemental composition to predict bioavailability of dissolved organic matter in a Georgia river. Limnol Oceanogr 42:714–721Google Scholar
  43. Tate CM, Meyer JL (1983) The influence of hydrologic conditions and successional state on dissolved organic carbon export from forested watersheds. Ecology 64:25–32CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Thurman EM (1985) Organic geochemistry of natural waters. Martinus Nijhoff/Dr. W. Junk Publishers, The HagueGoogle Scholar
  45. United States Geological Survey (2001) LC2001USGS_IN: 2001 land cover in Indiana, derived from National Land Cover Database (NLCD 2001)Google Scholar
  46. USDA (2007) Soil survey geographic (SSURGO) dataset from individual Indiana Counties. United States Department of Agriculture, Natural Resource Conservation Service. http://soildatamart.nrcs.usda.gov/
  47. Vidon P, Wagner LE, Soyeux E (2008) Changes in the character of DOC in streams during storms in two Midwestern watersheds with contrasting land uses. Biogeochem 88:257–270CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. Weishaar JL, Aiken GR, Bergamaschi BA, Fram MS, Fujii R, Mopper K (2003) Evaluation of specific ultraviolet absorbance as an indicator of the chemical composition and reactivity of dissolved organic carbon. Environ Sci Technol 37:4702–4708CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  49. Wilson HF, Xenopoulos MA (2008) Ecosystem and seasonal control of stream dissolved organic carbon along a gradient of land use. Ecosystems 11:555–568CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • Thomas J. Warrner
    • 1
  • Todd V. Royer
    • 1
  • Jennifer L. Tank
    • 2
  • Natalie A. Griffiths
    • 2
  • Emma J. Rosi-Marshall
    • 3
  • Matt R. Whiles
    • 4
  1. 1.School of Public and Environmental AffairsIndiana UniversityBloomingtonUSA
  2. 2.Department of Biological SciencesUniversity of Notre DameNotre DameUSA
  3. 3.Biology DepartmentLoyola University ChicagoChicagoUSA
  4. 4.Department of ZoologySouthern Illinois UniversityCarbondaleUSA

Personalised recommendations