Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Photochemical reactivity of dissolved organic matter in the Delaware Estuary
by White, Emily Marie, Ph.D., State University of New York College of Environmental Science and Forestry, 2007, 256; 3294982
Abstract (Summary)

Photochemical oxidation of dissolved organic matter (DOM) is an important process in the marine carbon cycle. Estuaries, in particular, play a major role in the processing of organic carbon during its transfer from land to the sea. The significance of this photochemical flux was evaluated in surface waters of the Delaware Estuary in the summer, 2002, by quantifying the main DOM photomineralization products, carbon dioxide (CO2) and carbon monoxide (CO). In order to precisely determine photochemically produced carbon dioxide (CO2) in marine waters, a semi-automated dissolved inorganic carbon (DIC) analytical system was developed. This system was designed to prevent atmospheric contamination during sample preparation, irradiation, and analysis by maintaining a closed system. Within the estuary, CO2 production was described by a single apparent quantum yield (AQY) spectrum whereas CO AQY spectra decreased with increasing salinity, suggesting the involvement of different mechanisms for the production of these two species. Production rates calculated from AQY spectra agreed reasonable well with directly measured rates (based on deckboard irradiations) but were consistently lower. Measured CO2 photoproduction rates were highest at the river (9.1 μmol CO2 L-1 d-1) and decreased non-linearly with salinity to 0.7 μmol CO2 L-1 d-1 near the mouth of the bay. CO photoproduction rates were on average ∼ 6 times lower than CO2 and decreased linearly with increasing salinity from 0.74 to 0.16 μmol CO L-1 d-1. Based on a simple depth-integrated model, a photochemical loss of ∼ 1.2 x 10 6 mol C d-1 was estimated for Delaware Estuary, which is comparable to 25% of riverine DOC input. The distribution of dissolved organic carbon (DOC) with salinity provided evidence of in situ production as well as chemical and microbial processing in the Delaware Estuary. Despite the preferential utilization of autochthonous DOM, photochemical alteration of terrestrial DOM had a positive effect on community respiration rates (but no effect on bacterial production) in post-irradiation, dark incubations. Through this coupled photochemical-biological pathway, photochemistry accounted for 14% of the ∼ 7.5 x 107 mol CO2 d-1 respired in the upper estuary (salinities < 10), contributing to the observed CO2 supersaturation (1000 to 7600 μatm CO 2) in this region.

Keywords: Delaware Estuary, photochemistry, dissolved organic matter

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Kieber, David J.
Commitee: Hassett, John P., Zepp, Richard G.
School: State University of New York College of Environmental Science and Forestry
Department: Environmental & Forest Chemistry
School Location: United States -- New York
Source: DAI-B 68/12, Dissertation Abstracts International
Source Type: DISSERTATION
Subjects: Oceanography, Biogeochemistry, Analytical chemistry
Keywords: Carbon cycle, Delaware Estuary, Dissolved organic matter, Photochemical reactivity
Publication Number: 3294982
ISBN: 9780549403371
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