The watershed of Conesus Lake, New York is drained by more than 18 unique streams and several smaller tributaries and has multiple land uses, varying from highly agricultural to primarily wooded, making the lake an ideal study site for analysis of the effects of land use on various water quality parameters. Previous water quality and watershed-health studies at Conesus Lake have focused on the delivery of inorganic nutrients to the lake. We know much less, however, about the effects of watershed land use on the quantity and composition of dissolved organic matter (DOM) exported to the lake. We sought to determine how stream DOM quantity and composition varied with space and time within the watershed during 2011. The concentrations of dissolved organic carbon and inorganic and organic nitrogen and phosphorus were measured seasonally in 7 streams, with a more detailed analysis of water chemistry in 12 streams during the growing season. The composition of DOM entering Conesus Lake was assessed with a suite of optical indices and with fluorescence excitation-emission matrices (EEMs) with parallel factor analysis (PARAFAC), a chemometric technique for the decomposition of characteristic fluorescence peaks. A 4-component PARAFAC model showed one allochthonous, humic-like component (C1), one semi-labile component with allochthonous and/or autochthonous origin (C2), and two autochthonous, protein-like components (C3 & C4). We showed seasonality in the composition and quantity of DOM that is consistent with abiotic seasonal controls and principle components analyses (PCA) suggest that agriculturally-dominated streams are associated with increased nitrate and phosphate, a greater proportion of protein-like PARAFAC components (C3 & C4), and that the DOM tends to be less humified. These results imply that a) seasonal controls on DOM govern the abundance of protein-like DOM and can alter the quantity of bulk DOM, b) agricultural land use may augment autochthonous production in a stream, particularly in the spring and summer, thus creating a more labile pool of DOM that is exported to the lake, and c) stream order can alter DOM quantity and composition, possibly through instream processing and variations in light availability.

Library of Congress Subject Headings

Water chemistry; Watershed ecology--New York (State)--Conesus Lake Watershed; Water--Organic compound content--New York (State)--Conesus Lake Watershed

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Anna Christina Tyler

Advisor/Committee Member

Todd E. Pagano

Advisor/Committee Member

Karl F. Korfmacher


Physical copy available from RIT's Wallace Library at TD427.O7 B44 2013


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