Optical properties of chromophoric dissolved organic matter (CDOM) in surface and pore waters adjacent to an oil well in a southern California salt marsh

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Abstract

Chromophoric dissolved organic matter (CDOM) optical properties were measured in surface and pore waters as a function of depth and distance from an oil well in a southern California salt marsh. Higher fluorescence and absorbances in pore vs. surface waters suggest soil pore water is a reservoir of CDOM in the marsh. Protein-like fluorophores in pore waters at distinct depths corresponded to variations in sulfate depletion and Fe(II) concentrations from anaerobic microbial activity. These variations were supported by fluorescence indexes and are consistent with differences in optical molecular weight and aromaticity indicators. Fluorescence indices were consistent with autochthonous material of aquatic origin in surface waters, with more terrestrial, humified allochthonous material in deeper pore waters. CDOM optical properties were consistent with significantly enhanced microbial activity in regions closest to the oil well, along with a three-dimensional excitation/emission matrix fluorescence spectrum peak attributable to oil, suggesting anaerobic microbial degradation of oil.

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Bowen, J. C., Clark, C. D., Keller, J. K., & De Bruyn, W. J. (2017). Optical properties of chromophoric dissolved organic matter (CDOM) in surface and pore waters adjacent to an oil well in a southern California salt marsh. Marine Pollution Bulletin, 114(1), 157–168. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.marpolbul.2016.08.071

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