Date of Completion


Embargo Period



Penny Vlahos, Christophe Dupraz

Field of Study



Master of Science

Open Access

Open Access


Estuaries transform and exchange various forms of dissolved and particulate carbon within the water column prior to exportation to the open ocean, efflux to the atmosphere, and/or sedimentation. Three bulk fractions of carbon: particulate organic carbon (POC); dissolved inorganic carbon (DIC); and dissolved organic carbon (DOC); and the stable isotopic (δ13C) composition of POC and DIC were measured for samples collected along the New River Estuary (NRE), NC to evaluate the sources, processing, and transport of carbon within the system. Conservative mixing curves for each parameter were analyzed to examine the changing character of the carbon pools throughout the estuary. POC concentrations decreased with distance downstream, and simultaneously became isotopically heavier with distance downstream. The inverse relationship for DIC concentration was observed throughout the estuary; however, δ13C-DIC was more depleted at the head of the estuary compared to the base. DOC illustrated a pattern similar to POC concentration. Overall, our results support some burial of terrestrial POC and respiration of autochthonous POC and imported DOC.

Major Advisor

Craig Tobias