Transformation of Riverine Organic Matter in Estuaries
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Laboratory mixing experiments were performed using water from nine Southeastern US rivers and seawater to determine the physical/chemical processes occurring to riverine organic matter when in contact with salt water. The dominant salt-induced changes that occur to riverine organic components were consistent increases in the particulate organic carbon concentrations (POC) and decreases in the dissolved organic carbon (DOC) concentrations. DOC to POC transformations occurred both in the presence and absence of the natural riverine particles, suggesting that both flocculation and adsorption of riverine DOC occur in salt water. These transformations from DOC to POC begin at low salinities (5 ppt.) and continue to increase to 20 ppt., indicating that these processes occur throughout the salinity range normally found in estuaries.