Mechanisms controlling the carbon stable isotope composition of phytoplankton in karst reservoirs

Submitted: 31 May 2012
Accepted: 15 November 2012
Published: 6 February 2013
Abstract Views: 3212
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In order to systematically understand the mechanisms controlling the carbon stable isotope composition of phytoplankton (δ13CPHY)in freshwater ecosystems, seasonal changes in δ13CPHY and related environmental factors were determined in karst reservoirs from the Wujiang river basin, China. Substantial and systematic differences within seasons and reservoirs were observed for δ13CPHY, which ranged from -39.2‰ to -15.1‰. An increase in water temperature triggered fast growth of phytoplankton which assimilated more dissolved inorganic carbon (DIC), resulting in the increase of δ13CPHY, δ13CDIC and pH. When the concentration of dissolved carbon dioxide (CO2) was less than 10 mmol L–1, phytoplankton shifted to using HCO3– as a carbon source. This resulted in the sharp increase of δ13CPHY. The carbon stable isotope composition of phytoplankton tended to decrease with the increase of Bacillariophyta, which dominated in January and April, but tended to increase with the increase of Chlorophyta and Dinophyta, which dominated in July. Multiple regression equations suggested that the influence of biological factors such as taxonomic difference on δ13CPHY could be equal or more important than that of physical and chemical factors. Thus, the effect of taxonomic differences on δ13CPHY must be considered when explaining the δ13C of organic matter in lacustrine ecosystem.

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How to Cite

Wang, Baoli, Cong-Qiang Liu, Xi Peng, and Fushun Wang. 2013. “Mechanisms Controlling the Carbon Stable Isotope Composition of Phytoplankton in Karst Reservoirs”. Journal of Limnology 72 (1):e11. https://doi.org/10.4081/jlimnol.2013.e11.

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