Theses and Dissertations

Issuing Body

Mississippi State University


Dash, Padmanava

Committee Member

Mercer, Andrew E.

Committee Member

Rodgers, John C., III

Committee Member

Cooke, William H., III

Date of Degree


Document Type

Dissertation - Open Access


Earth and Atmospheric Sciences

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


College of Arts and Sciences


Department of Geosciences


Spatial and temporal patterns of dissolved organic matter (DOM) were characterized using a combination of spectroluorometric measurements and multivariate analysis techniques. The study was conducted over a four-year (2012-2016) period in multiple watersheds located in the Gulf-Atlantic Coastal Plain Physiographic region of the southeast USA as well as in the Indo-Gangetic Plain of India. Surface water samples were collected from five major lakes in the Mississippi, an estuarine region in the southeastern Louisiana, and from the coastal region in the eastern Mississippi Sound in the USA, and a large river (Ganges River) in India. Absorption and fluorescence measurements were performed to generate absorption spectra and excitation-emission matrices (EEMs). Using parallel factor analyses (PARAFAC), EEM models were developed to characterize the biogeochemistry of DOM in three studies in this project. Principal component analysis and regression analyses of DOM data indicated that the northern Mississippi lakes were majorly influenced by agricultural land use, estuarine region was affected by natural DOM export from forests and wetlands, while the coastal waters were affected by a mix of anthropogenic and natural inputs of DOM. Spatial analyses indicated that DOM derived from watershed with increased wetland coverage was humic and aromatic while the DOM derived from agricultural watersheds was bioavailable. Temporal patterns of DOM in the estuary indicated the influence of hydrologic conditions and summer temperatures, and revealed strong seasonality in DOM evolution in the watershed. During high discharge periods (spring), aromatic and humic DOM was exported from the watershed while strong photochemical degradation during summer resulted bioavailable DOM. Comparison between two river systems, a highly urbanized large river and a small pristine river, indicated the influence of anthropogenic inputs of DOM in the large river system. DOM was bioavailable during summer due to anthropogenic activities in the large river system while it varied with hydrological connectivity in a small river system during summer and winter. In conclusion, this study has improved my understandings of the DOM properties, which are critical for a comprehensive assessment of biogeochemical processes undergoing in important water bodies on which our society is heavily dependent upon.



Mississippi||land use and land cover||Ganges River||PARAFAC||EEM||Pearl River||dissolved organic matter