The impacts of reservoirs on the sources and transport of riverine organic carbon in the karst area: A multi-tracer study.

Affiliation

Yi Y(1), Zhong J(1), Bao H(2), Mostofa KMG(3), Xu S(1), Xiao HY(4), Li SL(5).
Author information:
(1)Institute of Surface-Earth System Science, School of Earth System Science, Tianjin University, Tianjin 300072, China.
(2)State Key Laboratory of Marine Environmental Science, College of Ocean and Earth Sciences, Xiamen University, Xiamen 361102, China. Electronic address: [Email]
(3)Institute of Surface-Earth System Science, School of Earth System Science, Tianjin University, Tianjin 300072, China; State Key laboratory of Hydraulic Engineering Simulation and Safety, Tianjin University, Tianjin 300072, China.
(4)Institute of Surface-Earth System Science, School of Earth System Science, Tianjin University, Tianjin 300072, China; State Key Laboratory of Environmental Geochemistry, Institute of Geochemistry, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Guiyang 550002, China.
(5)Institute of Surface-Earth System Science, School of Earth System Science, Tianjin University, Tianjin 300072, China; State Key laboratory of Hydraulic Engineering Simulation and Safety, Tianjin University, Tianjin 300072, China. Electronic address: [Email]

Abstract

Reservoirs have been constructed as clean energy sources in recent decades with various environmental impacts. Karst rivers typically exhibit high dissolved inorganic carbon (DIC) concentrations, whether and how reservoirs affect carbon cycling, especially organic carbon (OC)-related biogeochemical processes in karst rivers, are unclear. To fill this knowledge gap, multiple tracer methods (including fluorescence excitation-emission matrix (EEM), ultraviolet (UV) absorption, and stable carbon (δ13C) and radiocarbon (Δ14C) isotopes) were utilized to track composition and property changes of both particulate OC (POC) and dissolved OC (DOC) along river-transition-reservoir transects in the Southwest China karst area. The changes in chemical properties indicated that from the river to the reservoir, terrestrial POC is largely replaced by phytoplankton-derived OC, while gradual coloured dissolved organic matter (CDOM) removal and addition of phytoplankton-derived OC to the DOC pool occurred as water flowed to the reservoir. Higher primary production in the transition area than that in the reservoir area was observed, which may be caused by nutrient released from suspended particles. Within the reservoir, the production surpassed degradation in the upper 5 m, resulting in a net DIC transformation into DOC and POC and terrestrial DOM degradation. The primary production was then gradually weakened and microbial degradation became more important down the profile. It is estimated that ~3.1-6.3 mg L-1 (~15.5-31.5 mg-C m-2 (~10-21%)) DIC was integrated into the OC pool through the biological carbon pump (BCP) process in the upper 5 m in the transition and reservoir areas. Our results emphasize the reservoir impact on riverine OC transport, and due to their characteristics, karst areas exhibit a higher BCP potential which is sensitive to human activities (more nutrient are provided) than non-karst areas.