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Mechanisms of carbon storage in mountainous headwater rivers


Last year we published results from a pilot study in Nature Communications, which serves as the foundation for my current PhD research. This work emphasizes the role of valley and channel form of mountainous headwater streams in the global carbon cycle. Multithread channels, which develop in Wild Basin watershed in the southeastern portion of Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado only under the presence of beaver dams or old-growth forests, store disproportionately large amounts of carbon in floodplain sediment and wood (~80% of total C stored in riparian areas) relative to the total proportion of river miles along which multithread channels occur (~25%) in the watershed.