Rapid accretion of dissolved organic carbon in the springs of Florida: The most organic-poor natural waters

C. M. Duarte, Y. T. Prairie, T. K. Frazer, M. V. Hoyer, S. K. Notestein, R. Martínez, A. Dorsett, D. E. Canfield

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Scopus citations


The concentration of dissolved organic carbon (DOC) in groundwater emanating as spring discharge at several locations in Florida, USA and the net increase in DOC in the downstream receiving waters were measured as part of a larger investigation of carbon dynamics in flowing waters. Springs with high discharge (>2.8 m3 s1) were found to be the most organic-poor natural waters yet reported (13 ± 1.6 μmol CL 1), while springs with lesser discharge exhibited somewhat higher DOC concentrations (values ranging from 30 to 77 μmol CL1). DOC concentrations increased rapidly downstream from the point of spring discharge, with the calculated net areal input rate of DOC ranging from 0.04 to 1.64 mol C m2d1 across springs. Rates of DOC increase were generally greater in those springs with high discharge rates. These input rates compare favorably with values reported for gross primary production in these macrophyte-dominated spring systems, assuming that 17% of macrophyte primary production is lost, on average, as DOC. The measures reported here are possible only because of the remarkably low DOC levels in the up-surging groundwaters and the short residency times of the water in the spring-runs themselves.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)4051-4057
Number of pages7
Issue number12
StatePublished - 2010
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Earth-Surface Processes


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