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Detection of the Sensitive Inflowing River Indicators Related to Non-Point Source Organic Pollution: A Case Study of Taihu Lake

C. Lin1,*, R. H. Ma1, Z. P. Wu2, J. F. Xiong1,3, and M. Min1

  1. Key Laboratory of Watershed Geographic Sciences, Institute of Geography and Limnology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Nanjing 210008, China
  2. School of Geographic and Oceanographic Sciences, Nanjing University, Nanjing 210046, China
  3. School of Geographic and Remote Sensing Sciences, Nanjing University of Information Science & Technology, Nanjing 210044, China

*Corresponding author. Tel.: +(86) 25-86882169; fax: +(86) 25-83592686. E-mail address: (C. Lin).


Organic matter transport from watershed soil into an aquatic ecosystem plays a key role in the fate of contaminants and lake eutrophication. Special emphasis is needed to understand whether sensitive river indicators can reflect watershed non-point source organic carbon (OC) pollution, in which the accurate assessment of non-point source (NPS) pollution is crucial. This study selected a sub-basin within the Taihu basin, China, as the study site, a typical rural-urban fringe region undergoing rapid urbanization where soil organic carbon (SOC) loss would likely take place due to the integration of agriculture NPS and impervious surface NPS. The seasonal tendency of NPS soil organic carbon (SOC) loads were evaluated by using the integration of SEDD and PLOAD models, which consider the sediment adsorption fraction loads (Sed-OC) and runoff dissolved fraction loads (Dis-OC) together. And then the sensitive water indicators for OC loads were determined by measurements of inflowing river properties and stepwise regression analysis. The results showed that active dissolved carbon fraction loads were the dominant contributors to the total organic carbon loads (Tot-OC) and that Sed-OC loads have more spatial variation. With respect to sensitive river properties, the lignin owned the greatest correlation degree with different OC fraction loads, in which the correlation coefficient between particulate lignin and Sed-OC loads reached 0.782, which is the greatest among the different indicators. In addition, the colored dissolved organic matter (CDOM) was also correlated with Dis-OC loads. However, the particulate organic carbon (POC) was not well related to OC loads. The findings of this study are useful for better understanding the nutrient migration from watershed soil into aquatic ecosystem controlled by watershed NPS pollution.

Keywords: soil organic carbon, non-point source pollution, dissolved and sediment fractions, lignin, Taihu Lake watershed

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