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Export and degassing of terrestrial carbon through watercourses draining a temperate podzolized catchment
Polsenaere, P.; Savoye, N.; Etcheber, H.; Canton, M.; Poirier, D.; Bouillon, S.; Abril, G. (2013). Export and degassing of terrestrial carbon through watercourses draining a temperate podzolized catchment. Aquat. Sci. 75(2): 299-319.
In: Aquatic Sciences. Birkhäuser/Springer: Basel etc.. ISSN 1015-1621; e-ISSN 1420-9055, more
Peer reviewed article  

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Author keywords
    Podzolized catchment; Coastal lagoon; Carbon dynamics; Carbon export;CO2 degassing

Authors  Top 
  • Polsenaere, P., more
  • Savoye, N.
  • Etcheber, H.
  • Canton, M.
  • Poirier, D.
  • Bouillon, S., more
  • Abril, G.

    We measured spatial and temporal variations in carbon concentrations, isotopic compositions and exports during a complete hydrological cycle in nine watercourses draining a lowland forested podzolized catchment, flowing into the Arcachon lagoon (France). In addition, integrated fluxes of CO2 across the water-atmosphere interface were estimated to assess the relative importance of CO2 evasion versus lateral carbon transport at the catchment scale. Watercourse similarities and specificities linked to the local catchment characteristics are discussed and compared with other riverine systems. Low concentrations of suspended particulate matter and particulate organic carbon (POC) were generally measured in all the watercourses (8.4 ± 3.4 and 1.6 ± 0.6 mg L−1, respectively), reflecting limited mechanical soil erosion. The generally high POC content in the suspended matter (20 %), low Chl a concentrations (1.3 ± 1.4 μg L−1) and the relatively constant δ13C-POC value (near −28 ‰) throughout the year reveal this POC originates from terrestrial C3 plant and soil detritus. The presence of podzols leads to high levels of dissolved organic carbon (DOC; 6.6 ± 2.2 mg L−1). Similarly, high dissolved inorganic carbon (DIC) concentrations were measured in the Arcachon lagoon catchment (5.9 ± 2.2 mg L−1). The δ13C-DIC value around −20 ‰ throughout the year in many small watercourses reveals the predominance of terrestrial carbon mineralisation and silicate rock weathering in soils as the major DIC source. With pCO2 between 1,000 and 10,000 ppmv, all watercourses were a source of CO2 to the atmosphere, particularly during the low river stage. Organic carbon parameters remained relatively stable throughout the year, whereas DIC parameters showed strong seasonal contrasts closely linked to the hydrological regime and hyporheic flows. In total, the carbon export from the Arcachon watershed was estimated at 15,870 t C year−1 or 6 t C km−2 year−1, mostly exported to the lagoon as DOC (35 %), DIC (24 %) and lost as CO2 degassing to the atmosphere (34 %).

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