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Publication Date


Document Type

Honors Project




Water-Organic compound content, Climatic changes-Environmental aspects, Ultraviolet radiation-Absorption and adsorption, Dissolved organic carbon, Tropical Storm Irene, Avery Brook, Specific ultraviolet absorption, Mercury


Dissolved organic carbon (DOC) is a critical component of natural waters, which can help regulate alkalinity, has a strong affinity for metals such as mercury, and serves as an important link between terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems within a watershed. A study of DOC in Avery Brook, one of the main tributaries of the Northampton reservoir, and located in West Whately, Massachusetts, was conducted to investigate some of the potential consequences of global climate change. Concentration of DOC in stream water and soil leachates was measured using a total organic carbon analyzer. The chemical quality of the DOC was evaluated using Specific Ultraviolet Absorbance at 254 nm (SUVA). The Avery Brook sampling sites were studied for seasonal changes in DOC quality and quantity during the second half of 2011. Also, the changes in quality and concentration were studied during tropical storm Irene. Soil water extracts from a deciduous and a hemlock tree stand in the sampling site were examined for DOC quality, and fractionated using XAD resin to categorize the DOC. These soils, and the water extracted from them were analyzed for mercury. An experiment was also performed that treated these soil samples with worms, which resulted in increased decomposition rates in the soil samples and changes in the quality of dissolved organic matter.




81 p. : ill. (some col.) Honors project-Smith College, Northampton, Mass., 2012. Includes bibliographical references (p. 62-63)