Date of Completion
Honors College Thesis
Type of Thesis
Honors College, College of Arts and Science Honors
Iron, Phosphorus, High flow events, Seasonality, Leaf fall, Nutrient loading
Autumn leaf fall may be an important driver of annual stream loading in forested catchments due to the introduction of large amounts of labile organic matter. In light of climate change projections for an intensification of the autumnal hydrological cycle for northern temperate forests, there is an increasing demand to understand this leaf fall period, and the extent to which it may drive water quality. In this study, we examine the export and biogeochemical coupling of dissolved organic carbon (DOC), iron (Fe), aluminum (Al), and phosphorus (P) during autumn and summer storms to understand the effects of seasonality and storm timing and magnitude on stream loading dynamics. We utilize in situ spectrophotometric sensors to measure UV-Vis light absorbance with high temporal resolution in order to quantify rapid changes in stream chemistry during storm events. We also explore the potential to project concentrations of the aforementioned parameters using partial least squares regression (PLSR) and high frequency absorbance data. Post leaf fall autumn storms resulted in the export of 23% of total study DOC in a 2-week period, as well as the largest fluxes of Fe and Al observed over the study period. These results may have important implications for nutrient loading in the receiving water body, Lake Champlain.
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Wilkes, Austin E., "Autumn Storms Trigger Enhanced Export of Iron, Phosphorus, and Carbon from a Forested Vermont Catchment" (2017). UVM Honors College Senior Theses. 211.