Science Inventory

CHROMOPHORIC DISSOLVED ORGANIC MATTER (CDOM) SOURCE CHARACTERIZATION IN THE LOUISIANA BIGHT

Citation:

Chen, R. F., P. Bissett, P. Coble, R. Conmy, G. B. Gardner, M. A. Moran, X. Wang, M. L. Wells, P. Whelan, AND R G. Zepp. CHROMOPHORIC DISSOLVED ORGANIC MATTER (CDOM) SOURCE CHARACTERIZATION IN THE LOUISIANA BIGHT. MARINE CHEMISTRY 89(1-4):257-272, (2004).

Impact/Purpose:

The overall objective of this task is to develop quantitative relationships for assessing the vulnerability of aquatic resources to global change. The task will contribute experimental and modeling tools for assessments of the interactions of global climate and UV changes with coral reefs and selected watersheds and estuaries in the U.S. These activities are contributing primarily to two APGs in the ecosystems component of the Global Change Research Multiyear Plan: the 2006 APG (APG 3) on building the capacity to assess global change impacts on coastal aquatic ecosystems, including coral reefs and estuaries and the 2004 APG (APG 2) on building capacity to assess and respond to global change impacts on selected watersheds. One major task objective is to assess interactions of global warming and UV exposure that are contributing to the observed coral bleaching and disease. Our lab is working with scientists at the NHEERL Gulf Ecology Lab to characterize UV exposure and effects at several coral reef sites. Other research in this task is examining the interactions between UV-induced breakdown of refractory organic matter in estuaries and coastal areas that enhance UV penetration into the water and concurrently form biologically-labile nitrogen-, phosphorus- and carbon-containing substances that stimulate productivity and microbial activity. This task also involves research in central Brazil that is part of the Large Scale Biosphere Atmosphere Experiment (LBA). The objectives of this project are to assess the impacts of land use and climatic changes on soil nutrient cycles and microbiota, trace gas exchange and water quality in the Brazilian cerrado. This work involves a close collaboration between EPA and a group of scientists from the Department of Ecology, University of Brasilia, Brazil. Other objectives of this task are to assess the interactions of land use and climate changes with the ecological functioning of streams in watersheds of the Piedmont region of the southestern U.S.

Description:

Chromophoric dissolved organic matter (CDOM) in the Mississippi plume region may have several distinct sources: riverine (terrestrial soils), wetland (terrestrial plants), biological production (phytoplankton, zooplankton, microbial), and sediments. Complex mixing, photodegradation, and biological processes make differentiation of the specific sources of CDOM difficult. Using a combination of high resolution in situ observations on an undulating vehicle, the ECOShuttle, a pumping system mounted on the vehicle, and detailed chemical and biological analyses of discrete samples allowed us to characterize two specific sources of CDOM in the Louisiana Bight: the river water constrained in the upper 12 meters of the Mississippi River plume and several subsurface layers of CDOM below the plume. The subsurface CDOM maxima were coincident with steep pycnoclines and sometimes with maxima in chlorophyll a fluorescence. Both sources were actively supplying CDOM to the same location by entirely different processes. The subsurface CDOM was more biologically labile and photochemically refractory than the surface CDOM. Optical properties were also different with relatively higher protein fluorescence and lower spectral slope coefficients in the subsurface CDOM. The geographical extent of the two sources was determined by three-dimensional mapping of the area, and due to the relatively calm conditions in the summer of 2000, thin layers of CDOM produced in the subsurface were observed throughout the region. While riverine inputs dominated the distribution of CDOM in surface waters <12 m in depth, biological production of CDOM, probably due to the bacterial degradation of phytoplankton produced DOM dominated the subsurface waters.

Record Details:

Record Type: DOCUMENT (JOURNAL/PEER REVIEWED JOURNAL)
Product Published Date: 06/15/2004
Record Last Revised: 06/06/2005
Record ID: 84928

Organization:

U.S. ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY

OFFICE OF RESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENT

NATIONAL EXPOSURE RESEARCH LABORATORY

ECOSYSTEMS RESEARCH DIVISION

IMMEDIATE OFFICE