Document Type

Conference Paper

Publication Date




Conference Name

1991 Georgia Water Resources Conference: March 19-20, 1991, The University of Georgia, Athens, Georgia


The importance of riverine- and saltmarsh-derived organic matter to the food web of Georgia coastal waters has been a focus of ecological research over the past thirty years. Studies based on energy budgets, carbon flux measurements, and stable isotope ratios have generally implicated marsh detritus as an important, although not always dominant, source of organic matter within the marshes and adjacent estuaries (Teal 1962, Odum and de la Cruz 1967, Haines 1977, Peterson and Howarth 1987). However, data on the contribution of exported marsh and riverine organic matter to productivity futher offshore, in continental shelf waters off the coast of Georgia, remains equivocal (Chalmers et al. 1985, Hopkinson 1985).

Dissolved lignin-derived compounds provide molecular level markers by which to determine the presence of terrestrially-derived organic matter in marine ecosystems. Lignin is found only in vascular plants and has no known oceanic sources. Thus its presence in seawater serves as unequivocal evidence of input of marsh or riverine organic matter, and indeed such lignin-derived material has been found in open ocean water a great distance from its probable point of origin (Meyers-Schulte and Hedges 1986). In this study, we present data on concentrations and distribution of lignin phenols in seawater samples collected during October and November 1987 on the continental shelf of the southeastern U.S., between Cape Hattaras and Cape Canaveral.

Original Publication Citation

Moran, M. A., Pomeroy, L. R., Sheppard, E. S., Atkinson, L. P., & Hodson, R. E. (1991). Lignin-Derived Organic Matter in Georgia Coastal Waters. Paper presented at the 1991 Georgia Water Resources Conference: March 19-20, 1991, The University of Georgia, Athens, Georgia.

Included in

Oceanography Commons


Article Location