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Durham University

Department of Earth Sciences


Publication details for Professor Fred Worrall

Worrall, F. & Moody, C.S. (2014). Modeling the rate of turnover of DOC and particulate organic carbon in a UK, peat-hosted stream: Including diurnal cycling in short-residence time systems. Journal of Geophysical Research: Biogeosciences 119(10): 1934-1946.

Author(s) from Durham


This study proposes a multicomponent, multiprocess scheme to explain the turnover of organic matter (particulate and dissolved organic matter) in streams. The scheme allows for production and degradation of organic matter by both photic and aphotic processes with transformation of dissolved organic carbon (DOC) to increasingly refractory forms. The proposed scheme was compared to 10 months of experimental observations of the turnover and fate of particulate and dissolved organic matter in stream water from a peat-covered catchment. The scheme was able to explain average decline in DOC concentration of 65% over 70 h with a 13% mean average percentage error based on turnover in three types of organic matter (particulate, labile dissolved, and refractory dissolved) although the order and rate of reactions did change between sets of experimental observations. The modeling suggests that activation energies are low for all except the most refractory forms of DOC in turn, suggesting that processes are not sensitive to temperature change. Application of the modeling scheme to organic matter turnover in the River Tees, northern England, showed that annual removal of total organic carbon was equivalent to between 13 and 33 t C/km2/yr from an at source export of between 22 and 56 t C/km2/yr giving a total in-stream loss rate of between 53 and 62% over a median in-stream residence time of 35 h.