Role of lakes, flood, and low flow events in modifying catchment‐scale DOC: TN: TP stoichiometry and export

Christina Fasching (Korresp. Autor*in), Kyle Boodoo, Huaxia Yao, James Rusak, Marguerite A. Xenopoulos

Veröffentlichungen: Beitrag in FachzeitschriftArtikelPeer Reviewed


The balance of organic carbon (OC), nitrogen (N) and phosphorus (P) plays a crucial role in determining the processing, retention, and movement of these solutes across the aquatic continuum. Floods and droughts can significantly alter the quantity and ratios of OC:N:P export within inland waters, but how these ratios change, and are coupled within watersheds that integrate rivers and lakes, is not well known. We investigated the stoichiometry and export of dissolved organic carbon (DOC), total N (TN) and total P (TP) in two lake watersheds (10 inflows, 2 outflows) in the southern Boreal Shield over a 37-year period. Although DOC, TN, and TP concentration behaved similarly, DOC:TN:TP ratios varied seasonally, strongly modulated by stream discharge. DOC:TN, DOC:TP and TN:TP export initially increased rapidly with increasing discharge, peaking at 10%–20% exceedance of the annual discharge for DOC:TP and TN:TP ratios, indicating a rapid depletion of catchment OC sources. Both flood and low flow events resulted in lower DOC:TN and lower DOC:TP export—thereby increasing the relative contributions of stream TN and TP. Consequently, elevated annual discharge coupled with infrequent but high floods and periods of low flow events increased the contributions of TN and TP relative to DOC. Overall, the lakes retained DOC, while increasing TN relative to TP. Nonetheless, the flow regime played a role in modulating nutrient retention in the lakes, likely due to changes in residence time, and the interplay of physical, photochemical, and biological degradation processes.
FachzeitschriftWater Resources Research
PublikationsstatusVeröffentlicht - März 2024

ÖFOS 2012

  • 105904 Umweltforschung