Dissolved organic carbon (DOC) inputs from canopy-derived hydrologic fluxes play a significant role in the terrestrial carbon budgets of forested ecosystems. However, no studies known to the authors have examined the variability of both DOC concentrations and quality for stemflow across time scales, nor has any study to date evaluated the effects of canopy structure on stemflow DOC characteristics. This investigation seeks to rectify this knowledge gap by examining the variability of stemflow DOC concentrations and quality across contrasting canopy morphologies and time scales (seasonal, storm and intrastorm). Bulk and intrastorm stemflow samples from a less dense, rough-barked, more plagiophile (Liriodendron tulipifera L. (tulip poplar)) and a denser, thin-barked, more erectophile (Fagus grandifolia Ehrh. (American beech)) canopy were collected and analyzed for DOC quality using metrics derived from UV-vis spectroscopy (E2:E3 ratio, SUVA254, select spectral slope (S), and spectral slope ratios (SR)). Our results suggest that stemflow DOC concentrations and quality change as crown architectural traits enhance or diminish hydrologic retention time within the canopy. The architecture of L. tulipifera canopies likely retards the flow of intercepted water, increasing chemical exchange with bark and foliar surfaces. UV-vis metrics indicated that this increased chemical exchange, particularly with bark surfaces, generally enhanced aromatic hydrocarbon content and increased molecular weight. Because leaf presence influenced DOC quality, stemflow DOC characteristics also varied seasonally in response to canopy condition. At the inter- and intrastorm scale, stemflow DOC concentration and quality varied with meteorological and antecedent canopy conditions. Since recent studies have linked stemflow production to preferential subsurface transport of dissolved chemistries, trends in DOC speciation and fluxes described in this study may impact soil environments within wooded ecosystems.
John T. Van Stan, Newark, Delaware, USA, 19713-0000
Van Stan, J.T., D.F. Levia, S.P. Inamdar, M.J. Mitchell, S.M. Mage. (2010): Temporal Variability of Stemflow Dissolved Organic Carbon (DOC) Concentrations and Quality from Morphologically Contrasting Deciduous Canopies . Abstract B13D-0516. AGU Fall Meeting, San Francisco, CA, December 13-17..