Influence of soil temperature and moisture on the dissolved carbon, nitrogen, and phosphorus in organic matter entering lake ecosystems

Abstract

Concentrations of terrestrially derived dissolved organic matter (DOM) have been increasing in many north temperate and boreal lakes for over two decades. The concentration of DOM in lakes is influenced by a number of environmental factors, but there is still considerable debate about how the availability of terrestrial DOM, and associated dissolved nitrogen and phosphorus, may be affected by drivers of climatic change. Using experimental and observational methods, we considered how changes in soil temperature and moisture affected the composition of carbon, nitrogen, and phosphorus entering freshwater lakes. In our experiment, organic soil cores were collected from the wetland shoreline of a darkly-stained seepage lake in northern Wisconsin, USA and manipulated in laboratory with temperature and moisture treatments. During the 28-day study, soil leachate was sampled and analyzed for optical properties of DOM via UV/Vis absorbance, as well as concentrations of dissolved organic carbon (DOC), total dissolved nitrogen, and total dissolved phosphorus (TDP). DOM optical properties were particularly sensitive to moisture, with drier scenarios resulting in DOM of lower molecular weight and aromaticity. Warmer temperatures led to lower DOC and TDP concentrations. To consider long-term relationships between climate and lake chemical properties, we analyzed long-term water chemistry data from two additional Wisconsin lakes from the long term ecological research (LTER) project in a cross correlation analysis with Palmer drought severity index data. Analysis of the LTER data supported our experimental results that soil moisture has a significant effect on the quality of DOM entering lakes and that climate may significantly affect lake chemical properties. Although unexpected in terms of DOM loading for climate change scenarios, these results are consistent with patterns of decomposition in organic soils and may be attributed to an increase in soil DOM processing.

This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.

Fig. 1
Fig. 2
Fig. 3
Fig. 4

References

  1. Aerts R, Wallen B, Malmer N (1992) Growth-limiting nutrients in Sphagnum-dominated bogs subject to low and high atmospheric nitrogen supply. J Ecol 1:131–140

    Article  Google Scholar 

  2. Amador JA, Jones RD (1993) Nutrient limitations on microbial respiration in peat soils with different total phosphorus content. Soil Biol Biogeochem 25:793–801

    Article  Google Scholar 

  3. American Public Health Association et al (1998) Standard methods for the examination of water and wastewater, 20th edn. American Public Health Association, Washington

    Google Scholar 

  4. Battin TJ, Kaplan LA, Findlay S et al (2009) Biophysical controls on organic carbon fluxes in fluvial networks. Nat Geosci 1:95–100

    Article  Google Scholar 

  5. Benoy G, Cash K, McCauley E et al (2007) Carbon dynamics in lakes of the boreal forest under a changing climate. Environ Rev 15:175–189

    Article  Google Scholar 

  6. Birge EA, Juday C (1926) The organic content of lake water. Proc Natl Acad Sci 12:515–519

    Article  Google Scholar 

  7. Blough NV, Del Vecchio R (2002) Chromophoric DOM in the coastal environment. In: Hansell DA, Carlson CA (eds) Biogeochemistry of marine dissolved organic matter, 1st edn. Elsevier Science, New York

    Google Scholar 

  8. Buffam I, Carpenter SR, Yeck W et al (2010) Filling holes in regional carbon budgets: predicting peat depth in a north temperate lake district. J Geophys Res. https://doi.org/10.1029/2009JG001034

    Google Scholar 

  9. Buffam I, Turner MG, Desai AR et al (2011) Integrating aquatic and terrestrial components to construct a complete carbon budget for a north temperate lake district. Glob Change Biol 17:1193–1211

    Article  Google Scholar 

  10. Corman JR, Bertolet BL, Casson NJ, Sebestyen SD, Kolka RK, Stanley EH (2018) Nitrogen and phosphorus loads to temperate seepage lakes associated with allochthonous dissolved organic carbon loads. Geophys Res Lett. https://doi.org/10.1029/2018GL077219

    Google Scholar 

  11. Creed IF, Beall FD, Clair TA et al (2008) Predicting export of dissolved organic carbon from forested catchments in glaciated landscapes with shallow soils. Glob Biogeochem Cycles 22:GB4024

    Article  Google Scholar 

  12. Davidson EW, Belk E, Boone RD (1998) Soil water content and temperature as independent or confounding factors controlling soil respiration in a temperate mixed hardwood forest. Glob Change Biol 4:217–227

    Article  Google Scholar 

  13. Dillon PJ, Molot LA (1997) Effect of landscape form on export of dissolved organic carbon, iron, and phosphorus from forested stream catchments. Water Resour Res 33:2591–2600

    Article  Google Scholar 

  14. Dillon PJ, Molot LA (2005) Long-term trends in catchment export and lake retention of dissolved organic carbon, dissolved organic nitrogen, total iron and total phosphorus: the Dorset, Ontario, study, 1978-1998. J Geophys Res 110:G01002

    Article  Google Scholar 

  15. Driscoll CT (1991) Effects of whole-lake base addition on the optical properties of three clearwater acidic lakes. Can J Fish Aquat Sci 48:1030–1040

    Article  Google Scholar 

  16. Elser JJ, Bracken ME, Cleland EE et al (2007) Global analysis of nitrogen and phosphorus limitation of primary producers in freshwater, marine and terrestrial ecosystems. Ecol Lett 10:1135–1142

    Article  Google Scholar 

  17. Evans CD, Chapman PJ, Clark JM et al (2006) Alternative explanations for rising dissolved organic export from organic soils. Glob Change Biol 12:2044–2053

    Article  Google Scholar 

  18. Evans CD, Jones TG, Burden A et al (2012) Acidity controls on dissolved organic carbon mobility in organic controls. Glob Change Biol 18:3317–3331

    Article  Google Scholar 

  19. Fang C, Moncrieff JB (2001) The dependence of soil CO2 efflux on temperature. Soil Biol Biochem 33:155–165

    Article  Google Scholar 

  20. Freeman C, Fenner N, Ostle NJ et al (2004) Export of dissolved organic carbon from peatlands under elevated carbon dioxide. Nature 430:195–918

    Article  Google Scholar 

  21. Gergel SE, Turner MG, Kratz TK (1999) Dissolved organic carbon as an indicator of the scale of watershed influence on lakes and rivers. Ecol Appl 9:1377–1390

    Article  Google Scholar 

  22. Green SA, Blough NV (1994) Optical absorption and fluorescence properties of chromophoric dissolved organic matter in natural waters. Limnol Oceanogr 39(8):1903–1916

    Article  Google Scholar 

  23. Hanson PC, Carpenter SR, Cardille JA et al (2007) Small lakes dominate a random sample of regional lake characteristics. Freshw Biol 53:814–822

    Article  Google Scholar 

  24. Helms JR, Stubbins A, Ritchie JD et al (2008) Absorption spectral slopes and slope ratios as indicators of molecular weight, source, and photobleaching of chromophoric dissolved organic matter. Limnol Oceanogr 53:955–969

    Article  Google Scholar 

  25. Hill BH, Elonen CM, Jicha TM et al (2014) Ecoenzymatic stoichiometry and microbial processing of organic matter in northern bogs and fens reveals a common P-limitation between peatland types. Biogeochemistry 120:203–224

    Article  Google Scholar 

  26. Jane SF, Winslow LA, Remucal CK et al (2017) Long-term trends and synchrony in dissolved organic matter characteristics in Wisconsin, USA, lakes: quality, not quantity, is highly sensitive to climate. J Geophys Res 122:546–561

    Article  Google Scholar 

  27. Kellerman AN, Dittman T, Kothawala DN et al (2014) Chemodiversity of dissolved organic matter in lakes driven by climate and hydrology. Nat Commun 5:3804

    Article  Google Scholar 

  28. Laine MPP, Strommer R, Arvola L (2014) DOC and CO2-C releases from pristine and drained peat soils in response to water table fluctuations: a mesocosm experiment. Appl Environ Soil Sci. https://doi.org/10.1155/2014/912816

    Google Scholar 

  29. Laudon H, Berggren M, Ågren A et al (2011) Patterns and dynamics of dissolved organic carbon (DOC) in boreal streams: the role of processes, connectivity, and scaling. Ecosystems 14:880–893

    Article  Google Scholar 

  30. Lawrence GB, Hazlett PW, Fernandez IJ et al (2015) Declining acidic deposition begins reversal of forest-soil acidification in the Northeastern U.S. and Eastern Canada. Environ Sci Technol 49:13103–13111

    Article  Google Scholar 

  31. Lead PI NTL, Magnuson J, Carpenter S, Stanley E (2010) North Temperate Lakes LTER: color - Trout Lake Area 1989 - current. Environmental Data Initiative. https://doi.org/10.6073/pasta/0017db3f9aff3fa374eae6f5278b5b30. Dataset accessed 20 May 2017

  32. Marcarelli AM, Baxter CV, Mineau MM et al (2011) Quantity and quality: unifying food web and ecosystem perspectives on the role of resource subsidies in freshwaters. Ecology 92:1215–1225

    Article  Google Scholar 

  33. Marín-Spiotta E, Gruley KE, Crawford J et al (2014) Paradigm shifts in soil organic matter research affect interpretations of aquatic carbon cycling: transcending disciplinary and ecosystem boundaries. Biogeochemistry 117:279–297

    Article  Google Scholar 

  34. Marschner B, Bredow A (2002) Temperature effects on release and ecologically relevant properties of dissolved organic carbon in sterilized and biologically active soil samples. Soil Biol Biochem 34:459–466

    Article  Google Scholar 

  35. Martin JG, Bolstad PV (2005) Annual soil respiration in broadleaf forests of northern Wisconsin: influence of moisture and site biological, chemical, and physical characteristics. Biogeochemistry 73:149–182

    Article  Google Scholar 

  36. Moldan F, Hruškay J, Evans CD et al (2012) Experimental simulation of the effects of extreme climate events on major ions, acidity and dissolved organic carbon leaching from a forested catchment, Gårdsjön, Sweden. Biogeochemistry 107:455–469

    Article  Google Scholar 

  37. Monteith DT, Stoddard JL, Evans CD et al (2007) Dissolved organic carbon trends resulting from changes in atmospheric deposition chemistry. Nature 450(7169):537

    Article  Google Scholar 

  38. Pęczuła W (2014) Variability of coloured dissolved organic carbon in seepage humic lakes as related to lake morphometry, catchment characteristics and precipitation. Ecohydrogloy 8:1229–1238

    Google Scholar 

  39. Preston MD, Eimers MC, Watmough SA (2011) Effect of moisture and temperature variation on DOC release from a peatland: conflicting results from laboratory, field, and historical data analysis. Sci Total Environ 409:1235–1242

    Article  Google Scholar 

  40. R Core Team (2016) R: a language and environment for statistical computing. R Foundation for Statistical Computing, Vienna, Austria. https://www.R-project.org/

  41. Richardson CJ (1985) Mechanisms controlling phosphorus retention capacity in freshwater wetlands. Science 228:1424–1427

    Article  Google Scholar 

  42. Roulet N, Moore TR (2006) Browning the waters. Nature 444:283–284

    Article  Google Scholar 

  43. Saunders DL, Kalff J (2001) Nitrogen retention in wetlands, lakes and rivers. Hydrobiologia 443:205–212

    Article  Google Scholar 

  44. Schiff S, Aravena R, MeWhinney E, Elgood R, Warner B, Dillon P, Thumbore S (1998) Precambrian shield wetlands: hydrological control of the sources and exports of dissolved organic matter. Clim Change 40:167–188

    Article  Google Scholar 

  45. Scott MJ, Jones MN, Woof C et al (1998) Concentrations and fluxes of DOC in drainage water from an upland peat system. Environ Int 24:537–546

    Article  Google Scholar 

  46. Seekell DA, Lapierre JF, Karlsson J (2015) Trade-offs between light and nutrient availability across gradients of dissolved organic carbon concentration in Swedish lakes: implications for patters in primary productivity. Can J Fish Aquat Sci 72:1663–1671

    Article  Google Scholar 

  47. Seifert-Monson LR, Hill BH, Kolka RK et al (2014) Effects of sulfate deposition on pore water dissolved organic carbon, nutrients, and microbial activity. Soil Biol Biochem 79:91–98

    Article  Google Scholar 

  48. Shapiro J (1957) Chemical and biological studies on the yellow organic acids of lake water. Limnol Oceanogr 2(3):161–179

    Article  Google Scholar 

  49. Solomon CT, Jones SE, Weidel BC et al (2015) Ecosystem consequences of changing inputs of terrestrial dissolved organic matter to lakes: current knowledge and future directions. Ecosystems 18:376–389

    Article  Google Scholar 

  50. Staarthof AL, Chincarini R, Comans RNJ et al (2014) Dynamics of soil dissolved organic carbon pools reveal both hydrophobic and hydrophilic compounds sustain microbial respiration. Soil Biol Biochem 79:109–116

    Article  Google Scholar 

  51. Striegl RG, Aiken GR, Dornblaser MM et al (2005) A decrease in discharge-normalized DOC export by the Yukon River during summer through autumn. Geophys Res Lett. https://doi.org/10.1029/2005GL024413

    Google Scholar 

  52. Tanentzap AJ, Kielstra BK, Wilkinson GM et al (2017) Terrestrial support of lake food webs: synthesis reveals controls over cross-ecosystems resource use. Sci Adv 3:e1601765

    Article  Google Scholar 

  53. Thrane JE, Hessen D, Anderson T (2014) The absorption of light in lakes: negative impact of organic carbon on primary productivity. Ecosystems 17:1040–1052

    Article  Google Scholar 

  54. Tranvik LJ, Downing JA, Cotner JB et al (2009) Lakes and reservoirs as regulators of carbon cycling and climate. Limnol Oceanogr 54:2298–2314

    Article  Google Scholar 

  55. Tukey J (1949) Comparing individual means in the analysis of variance. Biometrics 5:99–114

    Article  Google Scholar 

  56. Wardle DA (1992) A comparative assessment of factors which influence microbial biomass, carbon, and nitrogen levels in soil. Biol Rev 67:321–358

    Article  Google Scholar 

  57. Weishaar JL, Aiken GR, Bergamaschi BA et al (2003) Evaluation of specific ultraviolet absorbance as an indicator of the chemical composition and reactivity of dissolved organic carbon. Environ Sci Technol 37:4702–4708

    Article  Google Scholar 

  58. Wetzel RG (2003) Dissolved organic carbon: detrital energetics, metabolic regulators, and drivers of ecosystem stability of aquatic ecosystems. In: Findlay SEG, Sinsabaugh RL (eds) Aquatic ecosystems interactivity of dissolved organic matter, 1st edn. Academic Press, New York

    Google Scholar 

  59. WICCI (2011) Wisconsin’s changing climate: impacts and adaptations. Wisconsin initiative on climate change impacts. Nelson Institute for Environmental Studies, University of Wisconsin-Madison, and the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, Madison, WI. www.wicci.wisc.edu

  60. Wilkinson GM, Pace ML, Cole JJ (2013) Terrestrial dominance of organic matter in north temperate lakes. Glob Biogeochem Cycles 27:43–51

    Article  Google Scholar 

  61. Worrall F, Burt TP, Jaeban RY et al (2002) Release of dissolved organic carbon from upland peat. Hydrol Processes 16:3487–3504

    Article  Google Scholar 

  62. Xenopoulos MA, Lodge DM, Frentress J et al (2003) Regional comparisons of watershed determinants of dissolved organic carbon in temperate lakes from the Upper Great Lakes region and selected regions globally. Limnol Oceanogr 48:2321–2334

    Article  Google Scholar 

  63. Zwart ZA, Craig N, Kelly PT et al (2016) Metabolic and physiochemical responses to a whole-lake experimental decrease in dissolved organic carbon in a north-temperate lake. Limnol Oceanogr 61:723–734

    Article  Google Scholar 

Download references

Acknowledgements

The research was funded by the NSF and the Northern Research Station of the USDA Forest Service in collaboration with the Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest Service and the North Temperate Lakes Long-Term Ecological Research program (NSF-DEB-1440297). We thank the Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest and the University of Wisconsin—Trout Lake Station for logistical support, as well as Colin Smith, Patrick Dowd, Dale Higgins, Jim Mineau, Sara Sommers, Sue Reinecke, John Larson, Nate Aspelin, and Elizabeth Runde for assisting with field sampling and laboratory analyses. Additionally, we thank Trent Wickman for his contribution to the research design and John Battles and Stuart Jones for valuable comments that greatly improved this manuscript.

Author information

Affiliations

Authors

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Brittni L. Bertolet.

Additional information

This manuscript has been co-authored by Federal employees and the research was funded by the USDA Forest Service. The United States Government retains and the publisher, by accepting the article for publication, acknowledges that the United States Government retains a non-exclusive, paid-up, irrevocable, world-wide license to publish or reproduce the published form of this manuscript, or allow others to do so, for United States Government purposes.

Responsible Editor: Christine Hawkes.

Electronic supplementary material

Below is the link to the electronic supplementary material.

Supplementary material 1 (DOCX 4728 kb)

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Verify currency and authenticity via CrossMark

Cite this article

Bertolet, B.L., Corman, J.R., Casson, N.J. et al. Influence of soil temperature and moisture on the dissolved carbon, nitrogen, and phosphorus in organic matter entering lake ecosystems. Biogeochemistry 139, 293–305 (2018). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10533-018-0469-3

Download citation

Keywords

  • Allochthonous carbon
  • Climate change
  • Land–water linkages
  • Nutrients
  • Riparian