Christian Gaviria

I am an M.Sc. Environmental Science student in the Biogeochemistry of Boreal Ecosystems Research Group (BBERG). I joined BBERG as a student research assistant in the winter of 2017, leading to the development of an undergraduate thesis project in the following spring and starting a Masters in the Fall of 2018.

My research focuses on investigating the interaction between light absorbance and dissolved organic carbon (DOC). Absorbance has been previously used as a proxy for estimating DOC in water samples; however, due to the varying nature of DOC across different ecosystems, the relationship between DOC and absorbance is not a universal one. Quantifying this relationship would allow for quick and easy real-time DOC measurements in-situ as well as measurements in remote locations during different flow regimes that are currently under-sampled. Capturing these dynamic events would allow for a better understanding of carbon fluxes from terrestrial to aquatic environments within boreal Newfoundland.
I have compiled a large dataset from across the Newfoundland and Labrador boreal ecosystem latitudinal transect (NL-BELT), collected over many years and from a variety of water types. This dataset was used to generate an equation that is able to estimate DOC concentrations by using absorbance data. I have additionally included new samples from the Pynn’s Brook experimental watershed in order to test the performance of the equation.

I have been working with a deployable spectrophotometer in order to test the performance of the equation using grab samples from our sites and nearby streams in order to see how comparable predictions from the equation are to lab measurements. I am investigating different factors that can have an influence on absorbance measurements such as pH, turbidity, total dissolved iron concentration or oxidation reduction potential and interfere with accurate DOC estimates from the equation. This effort is done in order to finally deploy the instrument in our study sites for continuous and remote monitoring of stream water.

You can contact me by email at