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Patterns in solute chemistry of six inlet streams to Lake Hövsgöl, Mongolia

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Author(s): Tamir Puntsag | Jeffrey S. Owen | Myron J. Mitchell | Clyde E. Goulden | Patrick J. McHale

Journal: Journal of Ecology and Field Biology
ISSN 1975-020X

Volume: 33;
Issue: 4;
Start page: 289;
Date: 2010;
Original page

Keywords: dissolved organic matter | grazing | Lake Hövsgöl | permafrost | watershed

ABSTRACT
A number of characteristics of the Lake Hövsgöl watershed, such as the lake’s location at the edge of the Central Asiancontinuous permafrost zone, provide a unique opportunity to evaluate possible anthropogenic impacts in this remotearea in northern Mongolia. In this study, we compared stream solute concentrations in six sub-watersheds in the LakeHövsgöl watershed. Water samples were collected during the summer months between 2003 and 2005. Concentrationsof Cl- ranged from 9.8 to 51.3 μmol/L; average nitrate concentrations were very low and ranged from undetectable to1.1 μmol/L and average SO42- concentration at sampling stations with minimal animal grazing ranged from 66 to 294μmol/L. Average dissolved organic carbon (DOC) concentrations ranged from 642 to 1,180 μmol C/L. We did not find statisticallysignificant differences in DOC concentrations among the six streams, although DOC concentrations tended tobe higher in the two northernmost streams, possibly related to differences in the active layer above the permafrost. Dissolvedorganic nitrogen (DON) concentrations were correlated with DOC concentration, and followed the same spatialpattern as those for DOC. In streams in this remote watershed, total dissolved nitrogen was made up of mostly organicN, as has been found for other regions distant from anthropogenic N sources. Overall, these results suggest that futureresearch on the dynamics of DOC and DON in this watershed will be especially insightful in helping to understand howchanges in climate and land use patterns will affect transformations, retention, and export of dissolved organic matterwithin these sub-watersheds in the Lake Hövsgöl region.

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