Articles | Volume 6, issue 4
Research article
23 Nov 2018
Research article |  | 23 Nov 2018

Geomorphic regulation of floodplain soil organic carbon concentration in watersheds of the Rocky and Cascade Mountains, USA

Daniel N. Scott and Ellen E. Wohl

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Cited articles

Ågren, A. M., Buffam, I., Cooper, D. M., Tiwari, T., Evans, C. D., and Laudon, H.: Can the heterogeneity in stream dissolved organic carbon be explained by contributing landscape elements?, Biogeosciences, 11, 1199–1213,, 2014. 
Appling, A. P., Bernhardt, E. S., and Stanford, J. A.: Floodplain biogeochemical mosaics: A multi-dimensional view of alluvial soils, J. Geophys. Res.-Biogeo., 119, 1538–1553,, 2014. 
Aufdenkampe, A. K., Mayorga, E., Raymond, P. A., Melack, J. M., Doney, S. C., Alin, S. R., Aalto, R. E., and Yoo, K.: Riverine coupling of biogeochemical cycles between land, oceans, and atmosphere, Front. Ecol. Environ., 9, 53–60,, 2011. 
Ballantyne, A. P., Alden, C. B., Miller, J. B., Tans, P. P., and White, J. W. C.: Increase in observed net carbon dioxide uptake by land and oceans during the past 50 years, Nature, 488, 70–73,, 2012. 
Bao, H., Kao, S., Lee, T., Zehetner, F., Huang, J., Chang, Y., Lu, J., and Lee, J.: Distribution of organic carbon and lignin in soils in a subtropical small mountainous river basin, Geoderma, 306, 81–88,, 2017. 
Short summary
Mountain rivers play an important role in storing organic carbon (OC) on the landscape. We use field sampling to quantify OC concentrations in floodplain soils of two disparate mountain river basins. We find that local valley geometry and hydrology are dominant controls on OC concentration. This implies that OC concentration cannot be predicted using consistent downstream trends. Instead, geomorphology must be accounted for to understand the spatial distribution of OC in river basins.