Aquatic Sciences

, Volume 78, Issue 2, pp 381–393 | Cite as

Biophysical controls on dissolved organic carbon concentrations of Alaskan coastal temperate rainforest streams

  • David V. D’AmoreEmail author
  • Rick T. Edwards
  • Frances E. Biles
Research Article


Coastal carbon cycling models remain incomplete in key continental margins worldwide. Large quantities of labile terrestrial DOC are transferred to the Gulf of Alaska in a flow of freshwater discharge from thousands of watersheds that equals the discharge of the Mississippi River. The coastal margin of southeast Alaska and British Columbia is a potential hotspot of worldwide DOC metabolism and the mass and reactivity of DOC in rivers and estuaries of the region make quantifying and modeling DOC export a priority. Scaling DOC export requires a well-constrained model of streamwater DOC concentrations. We established models for prediction of DOC streamwater concentrations through a broad sampling of streams across a large, diverse landscape in 61 independent watersheds. Stream DOC concentrations were significantly related to the amount of wetlands in a watershed confirming the necessity of understanding the fate of the mass of carbon stored within them. Several measures of slope were useful in predictive models of streamwater DOC concentrations suggesting that slope predicts the presence of wetland soils better than current wetland map layers. We also provide evidence that suggests watersheds with large salmon spawning runs have distinct characteristics that influence the relationship between wetlands and carbon cycling that may provide additional insights into how carbon is processed.


Dissolved organic carbon Wetlands Salmon Stream biogeochemistry Slope 



We would like to thank Jacob Berkowitz, Erik Norberg, Mark Lukey, Jason Fellman, and Denise Elston for field and laboratory assistance; Julianne Thompson, Emil Tucker, Jackie DeMontigny, Aaron Prussian, and Katherine Prussian for providing sampling and logistical support for extensive field campaigns; and Pat Cunningham for statistical advice. Conversations with Tim Max inspired this sample design. We would also like to thank Dom Chaloner, Chelsea Crenshaw, Pat Cunningham, and Ashley Steel for constructive comments on early drafts of the manuscript.

Supplementary material

27_2015_441_MOESM1_ESM.pdf (708 kb)
Supplementary material (PDF 707 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer Basel (outside the USA) 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • David V. D’Amore
    • 1
    Email author
  • Rick T. Edwards
    • 1
  • Frances E. Biles
    • 1
  1. 1.Pacific Northwest Research StationU.S. Forest Service, Department of AgricultureJuneauUSA

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