Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)
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dissolved organic carbon, biogeochemistry, hydrology, Everglades restoration, wetland, estuary, carbon cycle
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The Florida Everglades is a massive and highly managed subtropical wetland ecosystem, strongly influenced by anthropogenic control of freshwater distribution and highly susceptible to a changing climate, including rising sea-level and changes in temperature and rainfall. Shifting hydrologic regimes impact ecosystem function and biogeochemistry, which in turn control the sources, fate, and transport of organic matter. As a master environmental variable, it is essential to understand how organic matter dynamics will respond to changes in the balance between freshwater and saltwater associated with landscape-scale Everglades restoration efforts and climate change. The research comprising this dissertation improves current understanding of the linkages between organic matter and hydrology in the Everglades across a broad range of temporal and spatial scales. A range of research tools, including stable molecular biomarkers, water quality sensors, data synthesis and multivariate statistics were utilized. Biomarkers were used to track particulate organic matter mobilization in response to experimentally manipulated flows and provided initial evidence that sheet flow restoration can re-engineer landscape microtopography, influencing both ecosystem structure and organic matter inputs to Everglades National Park (ENP). Short-term and long-term temporal studies indicated the quantity and quality of dissolved organic carbon responds to changes in freshwater flow to marshes and mangrove forests in ENP, and that spatial patterns and trends are driven by a complex mixture of managed and natural surface water inputs (i.e., rainfall and water management inflows) as well as groundwater discharge. Application of climate scenario forecasting to relationships established between organic matter and hydrologic drivers predicted reductions in dissolved organic carbon export from ENP and changes in organic matter molecular composition. Furthermore, high-frequency measurements showed hydrologic connectivity of freshwater and estuarine organic matter pools at sub-monthly time-scales. In summary, the work presented here clearly indicates strong yet spatiotemporally complex relationships between changes in water and the sources and transport of organic carbon through the Everglades.
Regier, Peter, "Linking Organic Matter Dynamics to Management, Restoration, and Climate in the Florida Everglades" (2017). FIU Electronic Theses and Dissertations. 3385.
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