Chromophoric dissolved organic matter (CDOM) in aquatic ecosystems can reflect the impacts of human activities on the carbon-cycling process. However, direct evidence of the combined effect of land use and anthropogenic nutrients on CDOM characteristics in river ecosystems is limited. Herein, we collected water samples from 18 sites in the Nanchong section of Jialing River in December 2019 to elucidate how the land use and nutrients affect the source and composition of CDOM through parallel factor (PARAFAC) analysis of excitation–emission matrices (EEMs). First, the absorption coefficient a254 (r2=0.29, p<0.01) and three fluorescence components (humic-like C1 and C2 and protein-like C3) (r2=0.31–0.37, p<0.01) significantly increased with increased urban area, and the four parameters were higher in the urban than in the suburb (p<0.05). The correlation between small CDOM molecule and cropland land was positive (p<0.01). Second, the increase in nutrient levels increased the a254 (r2=0.84 and 0.33, p<0.01) and three fluorescence components (r2=0.30–0.84, p<0.01 or p<0.05). Third, allochthonous CDOM were prevalent in the Nanchong Section of Jialing River, and the proportions of C1 and C2 were 42 and 41%, respectively. Our findings indicated that the variability of source and composition of CDOM significantly depended on urbanization and increased nutrients in the Nanchong Section of Jialing River.
We found that (1) Terrestrial dissolved organic matter (DOM) input was primary source in Nanchong Section of Jialing River (2) Nutrients (i.e., TN and TP) and %Urban land use enhanced input of allochthonous and autochthonous DOM.
Our study highlights the need to protect the Jialing River as increased organic carbon loading, and land use altered source and composition of DOM to affect aquatic ecosystem function.