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Land use and land cover control on the spatial variation of dissolved organic matter across 41 lakes in Mississippi, USA


While dissolved organic matter (DOM) is an important indicator of water quality, land use and land cover (LULC) of watersheds define the source, quality, and quantity of DOM delivered to a waterbody. This study examined the influence of various LULC classes in the spatial distribution of DOM in 41 lakes across the state of Mississippi. To scale the influence of LULC classes on DOM distribution, we have classified 41 lakes into five clusters based on DOM compositions determined by parallel factor analysis. Four major DOM compositions including terrestrial humic-like (C1), microbial humic-like (C2), soil-derived humic-like (C3), and tryptophan-like or tyrosine like (C4) components were identified. Higher amounts of terrestrial humic-like and soil-derived humic-like DOM compositions were observed in lakes within watersheds dominated by forested, barren, wetlands, or agricultural areas with exposed unconsolidated soil. Higher amounts of microbial humic-like composition were observed in lakes surrounded by hay/pasture, rangeland, and urbanized areas. Additionally, protein-like DOM and ammonia were more enriched in larger lakes, indicating the influences of photochemical reactions. High amounts of forested areas and higher concentrations of terrestrial humic-like DOM composition were identified in all lakes suggesting forested areas in the watershed as the principal source of DOM in Mississippi lakes.

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The research was supported by the faculty start-up grant to Dr. Padmanava Dash and funding to Mr. Gray Turnage from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service through the Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality. The authors are thankful to Scott Landon Sanders of the Department of Geosciences, Mississippi State University for his help during watershed delineation and to Sathish Samiappan, David Young, Nick Bailey, Sean Meachum, Ashley Kosturock, Louis Wasson, Sam Hansen, and Mary Nunenmacher for their assistance with sample collection from field sites.

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Sankar, M.S., Dash, P., Lu, Y. et al. Land use and land cover control on the spatial variation of dissolved organic matter across 41 lakes in Mississippi, USA. Hydrobiologia 847, 1159–1176 (2020). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10750-019-04174-0

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  • Dissolved organic matter
  • Land use and land cover
  • Watershed
  • Mississippi
  • PCA