Understanding Dissolved Organic Matter Biogeochemistry Through In Situ Nutrient Manipulations in Stream Ecosystems


Dissolved organic matter (DOM) is a highly diverse mixture of molecules providing one of the largest sources of energy and nutrients to stream ecosystems. Yet the in situ study of DOM is difficult as the molecular complexity of the DOM pool cannot be easily reproduced for experimental purposes. Nutrient additions to streams however, have been shown to repeatedly alter the in situ and ambient DOM pool. Here we demonstrate an easily replicable field-based method for manipulating the ambient pool of DOM at the ecosystem scale. During nutrient pulse experiments changes in the concentration of both dissolved organic carbon and dissolved organic nitrogen can be examined across a wide-range of nutrient concentrations. This method allows researchers to examine the controls on the DOM pool and make inferences regarding the role and function that certain fractions of the DOM pool play within ecosystems. We advocate the use of this method as a technique to help develop a deeper understanding of DOM biogeochemistry and how it interacts with nutrients. With further development this method may help elucidate the dynamics of DOM in other ecosystems.

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Journal of Visualized Experiments

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