Estuaries and Coasts

, Volume 29, Issue 3, pp 388–400 | Cite as

Dissolved organic matter (DOM) export to a temperate estuary: seasonal variations and implications of land use

  • Colin A. Stedmon
  • Stiig Markager
  • Morten Søndergaard
  • Torben Vang
  • Anker Laubel
  • Niels Henrik Borch
  • Anders Windelin


Inputs of dissolved carbon, nitrogen, and phosphorus were assessed for an estuary and its catchment (Horsens, Denmark). Seasonal patterns in the concentrations of DOM in the freshwater supply to the estuary differed depending on the soil and drainage characteristics of the area. In streams draining more natural areas the, patterns observed were largely driven by seasonal temperature fluctuations. The material exported from agricultural areas was more variable and largely controlled by precipitation events. Positive exponential relationships were found between the nitrogen and phosphorus loading, and the percentage of catchment area used for agriculture. Colored DOM (CDOM) loading measurements were found to be a good predictor of dissolved organic carbon (DOC) loading across the different subcatchments, offering a rapid and inexpensive alternative of operationally monitoring DOC export. For all the dissolved nutrient inputs to the estuary, dissolved inorganic nitrogen (DIN) and dissolved organic phosphorus dominated the loadings. Although 81% of the nitrogen annually supplied to the estuary was DIN, 83% of the nitrogen exported from the estuary was dissolved organic nitrogen (DON). Results show that increasing the area of the catchment covered by forest and natural pastures would have a positive effect on the trophic status of the estuary, leading to a considerable decrease in the phosphorus loading and a shift in the nitrogen loading from DIN to DON. Such a change in land use would also increase the export of DOC and CDOM to the estuary having the potential to increase oxygen consumption and reduce the photic depth.


Dissolve Organic Matter Dissolve Inorganic Nitrogen Dissolve Organic Carbon Concentration Dissolve Organic Nitrogen Dissolve Organic Matter 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Estuarine Research Federation 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  • Colin A. Stedmon
    • 1
  • Stiig Markager
    • 1
  • Morten Søndergaard
    • 2
  • Torben Vang
    • 3
  • Anker Laubel
    • 3
  • Niels Henrik Borch
    • 2
  • Anders Windelin
    • 3
  1. 1.Department of Marine EcologyNational Environmental Research InstituteRoskildeDenmark
  2. 2.Freshwater Biological LaboratoryUniversity of CopenhagenHillerødDenmark
  3. 3.Department of Marine EnvironmentVejle CountyVejleDenmak

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