Sources and composition of organic matter for bacterial growth in a large European river floodplain system (Danube, Austria)

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Abstract

Dissolved and particulate organic matter (DOM and POM) distribution, lignin phenol signatures, bulk elemental compositions, fluorescence indices and microbial plankton (algae, bacteria, viruses) in a temperate river floodplain system were monitored from January to November 2003. We aimed to elucidate the sources and compositions of allochthonous and autochthonous organic matter (OM) in the main channel and a representative backwater in relation to the hydrological regime. Additionally, bacterial secondary production was measured to evaluate the impact of organic carbon source on heterotrophic prokaryotic productivity. OM properties in the backwater tended to diverge from those in the main channel during phases without surface water connectivity; this was likely enhanced due to the exceptionally low river discharge in 2003. The terrestrial OM in this river floodplain system was largely derived from angiosperm leaves and grasses, as indicated by the lignin phenol composition. The lignin signatures exhibited significant seasonal changes, comparable to the seasonality of plankton-derived material. Microbially-derived material contributed significantly to POM and DOM, especially during periods of low discharge. High rates of bacterial secondary production (up to 135 μg C L-1 d-1) followed algal blooms and suggested that autochthonous OM significantly supported heterotrophic microbial productivity. © 2008 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

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Besemer, K., Luef, B., Preiner, S., Eichberger, B., Agis, M., & Peduzzi, P. (2009). Sources and composition of organic matter for bacterial growth in a large European river floodplain system (Danube, Austria). Organic Geochemistry, 40(3), 321–331. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.orggeochem.2008.12.005

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