UBC Faculty Research and Publications

Submersible UV-Vis Spectroscopy for Quantifying Streamwater Organic Carbon Dynamics: Implementation and Challenges before and after Forest Harvest in a Headwater Stream Jollymore, Ashlee; Johnson, Mark S.; Hawthorne, Iain


Organic material, including total and dissolved organic carbon (DOC), is ubiquitous within aquatic ecosystems, playing a variety of important and diverse biogeochemical and ecological roles. Determining how land-use changes affect DOC concentrations and bioavailability within aquatic ecosystems is an important means of evaluating the effects on ecological productivity and biogeochemical cycling. This paper presents a methodology case study looking at the deployment of a submersible UV-Vis absorbance spectrophotometer (UV-Vis spectro::lyzer model, s::can, Vienna, Austria) to determine stream organic carbon dynamics within a headwater catchment located near Campbell River (British Columbia, Canada). Field-based absorbance measurements of DOC were made before and after forest harvest, highlighting the advantages of high temporal resolution compared to traditional grab sampling and laboratory measurements. Details of remote deployment are described. High-frequency DOC data is explored by resampling the 30 min time series with a range of resampling time intervals (from daily to weekly time steps). DOC export was calculated for three months from the post-harvest data and resampled time series, showing that sampling frequency has a profound effect on total DOC export. DOC exports derived from weekly measurements were found to underestimate export by as much as 30% compared to DOC export calculated from high-frequency data. Additionally, the importance of the ability to remotely monitor the system through a recently deployed wireless connection is emphasized by examining causes of prior data losses, and how such losses may be prevented through the ability to react when environmental or power disturbances cause system interruption and data loss.

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