- Dissolved Organic Matter: Linking Soils and Aquatic Systems
- Vadose Zone Journal
- Volume | Issue number
- 13 | 7
- Number of pages
- Document type
- Faculty of Science (FNWI)
- Institute for Biodiversity and Ecosystem Dynamics (IBED)
The guest editors introduce the contributions to the special section, Dissolved Organic Matter in Soil, with a focus on the three main directions in this complex and growing research effort.
Dissolved organic matter (DOM) plays a crucial role in many important processes that take place in terrestrial and aquatic systems. These include carbon and nutrient cycling, pedogenesis, and microbial metabolism. Here we highlight the results of studies that demonstrate the role of DOM in linking terrestrial and aquatic systems. We emphasize three fundamental aspects of the research, which together show the importance of DOM in linking terrestrial and aquatic systems: First, tracing DOM properties during its transport through terrestrial and aquatic systems is a powerful tool for improving our conceptual understanding of the mechanistic drivers of DOM dynamics. Second, linking DOM dynamics to important physical processes such as hydrology provides important insights into the nature of terrestrial-aquatic links. Third, interrelations between DOM dynamics and human impacts on ecosystems highlight how the role of DOM in coupled terrestrial-aquatic systems may change in the future. New measurement and modeling approaches have enabled a more thorough assessment of all three aspects of DOM dynamics. They show that both natural and anthropogenic drivers not only greatly influence DOM dynamics in soils, but owing to the mobility of DOM, also have substantial influence on aquatic systems. This physical connection of soils and surface waters demonstrates the importance of understanding fundamental processes such as nutrient cycling, pedogenesis, and microbial metabolism at a whole-landscape scale.
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