Original paper

Spatial and temporal patterns in abundance and character of dissolved organic matter in two karst aquifers

Simon, Kevin S.; Pipan, Tanja; Ohno, Tsutomu; Culver, David C.


The spatial and temporal patterns in concentration and character of dissolved organic matter (DOM) in karst basins in Slovenia and the United States were characterized. DOM in the shallow aquifer, or epikarst, waters was characterized by low, stable concentration and compounds of low aromaticity and humification. There was strong temporal coherence in DOM character, but not concentration, across locations within the epikarst. DOM in sinking streams, cave streams, and resurgence springs typically had higher DOM concentration and aromaticity. Fluorescence and parallel factor analysis of DOM revealed that humic or fulvic-like substances in soils, surface and cave streams, and springs were the dominant fluorophores. However, DOM extracted from soils was chemically different from that present in the stream and spring waters. Epikarst water contained humic-like and protein-like DOM, and had fluorescence characteristics indicative of microbial uptake and release of DOM in the epikarst. These data show that there are substantial basin-scale patterns in DOM concentration and character and that aquifer structure influences the spatial patterns of DOM in karst groundwater.


karstcaveparafacgroundwaterfluorescenceunsaturated zonedomsuva