Browsing College of Natural Science and Mathematics (CNSM) by Subject "water"
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Controls on microbial processing of dissolved organic matter in boreal forest streamsIn the boreal forest, permafrost thaw is resulting in changes in vegetation and deepening of watershed flowpaths. Caribou-Poker Creeks Research Watershed contains sub-catchments underlain with varying permafrost extents (4-53% cover), providing the opportunity to study how permafrost extent affects water chemistry and nutrient cycling. I measured nitrogen (N), phosphorous (P), and carbon (C) processing ectoenzyme activity in the water column and sediment of headwater streams, and related ectoenzyme activity to nutrient and dissolved organic carbon (DOC) concentration. Additionally, I used nutrient diffusing substrata (NDS) to grow biofilms with enhanced inorganic N and P and labile C alone and in combination and measured ectoenzyme activity and respiration of biofilms in response to resource amendments. High P-processing enzyme activity across streams of the CPCRW indicated microbial P limitation. Respiration and organic matter processing enzymes of biofilms grown on NDS increased with labile C or labile C in combination with nutrient additions, implying that labile C limited or co-limited rates of DOM processing. Our results suggest that as climate warming and subsequent permafrost thaw alters terrestrial inputs of dissolved organic matter (DOM) and inorganic nutrients into streams, changes in inorganic P and labile C availability will control microbial processing of DOM.