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Microbial Ecology

, Volume 52, Issue 3, pp 501–512 | Cite as

Microbial Availability and Size Fractionation of Dissolved Organic Carbon After Drought in an Intermittent Stream: Biogeochemical Link Across the Stream–Riparian Interface

  • Anna M. RomaníEmail author
  • Eusebi Vázquez
  • Andrea Butturini
Article

Abstract

The evolution of dissolved organic carbon (DOC) molecular-weight fractions, DOC biodegradability (BDOC), DOC origin [fluorescence index (FI)], and enzyme activities between the stream waters (main and ephemeral channel) and ground waters (riparian and hillslope) were analyzed during the transition from drought to precipitation in a forested Mediterranean stream. After the first rains, DOC content in stream water reached its maximum value (10–18 mg L−1), being explained by the leaching of deciduous leaves accumulated on the stream bed during drought. During this period, the largest molecules (>10 kDa), were the most biodegradable, as indicated by high BDOC values measured during storm events and high enzymatic activities (especially for leucine-aminopeptidase). DOC >100 kDa was strongly immobilized (78%) at the stream–riparian interface, whereas the smallest molecules (<1 kDa) were highly mobile and accumulated in ground waters, indicating their greater recalcitrance. Differential enzymatic patterns between compartments showed a fast utilization of polysaccharides in the flowing water but a major protein utilization in the ground water. The results of the FI indicated a more terrestrial origin of the larger molecules in the flowing water, also suggesting that transformation of material occurs through the stream–riparian interface. Microbial immobilization and fast utilization of the most biodegradable fraction at the stream–riparian interface is suggested as a relevant DOC retention mechanism just after initial recharging of the ground water compartment. Large and rapid DOC inputs entering the intermittent river system during the transition from drought to precipitation provide available N and C sources for the heterotrophs. Heterotrophs efficiently utilize these resources that were in limited supply during the period of drought. Such changes in C cycling may highlight possible changes in organic matter dynamics under the prediction of extended drying periods in aquatic ecosystems.

Keywords

Stream Water Dissolve Organic Carbon Concentration Fluorescence Index Total Dissolve Organic Carbon Biodegradable Dissolve Organic Carbon 
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.

Notes

Acknowledgments

This study was funded by projects CICYT REN2002-04442-C02-02/GLO and CGL2004-04050/HID from the Spanish Science Ministry. We thank anonymous reviewers for their helpful suggestions on the manuscript. Thanks to David Balayla for revision of the English manuscript.

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, Inc. 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  • Anna M. Romaní
    • 1
    Email author
  • Eusebi Vázquez
    • 2
  • Andrea Butturini
    • 3
  1. 1.Institut d'Ecologia AquàticaUniversitat de GironaGironaSpain
  2. 2.Departament d'EcologiaUniversitat de BarcelonaBarcelonaSpain
  3. 3.Centre d'Estudis Avançats de Blanes, CSICBlanesSpain

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