Skip to main content
×
Home

Young, Old, and Weathered Carbon-Part 1: Using Radiocarbon and Stable Isotopes to Identify Carbon Sources in an Alkaline, Humic Lake

  • Evelyn M Keaveney (a1), Paula J Reimer (a1) and Robert H Foy (a2) (a3)
Abstract

This article presents a case study of Lower Lough Erne, a humic, alkaline lake in northwest Ireland, and uses the radiocarbon method to determine the source and age of carbon to establish whether terrestrial carbon is utilized by heterotrophic organisms or buried in sediment. Stepped combustion was used to estimate the degree of the burial of terrestrial carbon in surface sediment. Δ14C, δ13C, and δ15N values were measured for phytoplankton, dissolved inorganic carbon (DIC), dissolved organic carbon (DOC), and particulate organic carbon (POC). Δ14C values were used to indicate the presence of different sources of carbon, including bedrock-derived inorganic carbon, “modern,” “recent,” “subsurface,” and “subfossil” terrestrial carbon in the lake. The use of 14 C in conjunction with novel methods (e.g. stepped combustion) allows the determination of the pathway of terrestrial carbon in the system, which has implications for regional and global carbon cycling.

Copyright
Corresponding author
2. Corresponding author. Email: e.keaveney@qub.ac.uk.
References
Hide All
Ågren A, Berggren M, Laudon H, Jansson M. 2008. Terrestrial export of highly bioavailable carbon from small boreal catchments in spring floods. Freshwater Biology 53(5):964–72.
Bade DL, Pace ML, Cole JJ, Carpenter SR. 2006. Can algal photosynthetic inorganic carbon isotope fractionation be predicted in lakes using existing models? Aquatic Sciences 68(2):142–53.
Bartels P, Cucherousset J, Gudasz C, Jansson M, Karlsson J, Persson L, Premke K, Rubach A, Steger K, Tranvik LJ. 2012. Terrestrial subsidies to lake food webs: an experimental approach. Oecologia 168(3):807–18.
Battarbee RW. 1984. Spatial variations in the water quality of Lough Erne, Northern Ireland, on the basis of surface sediment diatom analysis. Freshwater Biology 14(5):539–45.
Battarbee RW. 1986. The eutrophication of Lough Erne inferred from changes in the diatom assemblages of 210Pb- and 37Cs-dated sediment cores. Proceedings of the Royal Irish Academy 86B:141–68.
Bornette G, Puijalon S. 2011. Response of aquatic plants to abiotic factors: a review. Aquatic Sciences 73(1):114.
Broecker WS, Orr PC. 1958. Radiocarbon chronology of Lake Lahontan and Lake Bonneville. Geological Society of America Bulletin 69(8):1009–32.
Broecker WS, Walton A. 1959. The geochemistry of C14 in fresh-water systems. Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta 16(1–3):1538.
Butman D, Raymond PA. 2011. Significant efflux of carbon dioxide from streams and rivers in the United States. Nature Geoscience 4:839–42.
Butman D, Raymond P, Oh N-H, Mull K. 2007. Quantity, 14C age and lability of desorbed soil organic carbon in fresh water and seawater. Organic Geochemistry 38(9):1547–57.
Butman D, Raymond PA, Butler K, Aiken G. 2012. Relationships between Δ14C and the molecular quality of dissolved organic carbon in rivers draining to the coast from the conterminous United States. Global Biogeochemical Cycles 26(4):GB4014, doi:10.1029/2012GB004361.
Caraco N, Bauer JE, Cole JJ, Petsch S, Raymond P. 2010. Millennial-aged organic carbon subsidies to a modern river food web. Ecology 91:2385–93.
Carpenter SR, Cole JJ, Pace ML, Van De Bogert M, Bade DL, Bastviken D, Gille CM, Hodgson JR, Kitchell JF, Kritzberg ES. 2005. Ecosystem subsidies: terrestrial support of aquatic food webs from 13C addition to contrasting lakes. Ecology 86:2737–50.
Cole JJ, Carpenter SR, Pace ML, Van De Bogert MC, Kitchell JL, Hodgson JR. 2006. Differential support of lake food webs by three types of terrestrial organic carbon. Ecology Letters 9(5):558–68.
de Kluijver A, Yu J, Houtekamer M, Middelburg JJ, Liu Z. 2012. Cyanobacteria as carbon source for zooplankton in eutrophic Lake Taihu, China, measured by 13C labelling and fatty acid biomarkers. Limnology and Oceanography 57(4):1245–54.
Deevey ES, Gross MS, Hutchinson GE, Kraybill HL. 1954. The natural C14 contents of materials from hard-water lakes. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the USA 40(5):285–8.
Douglas PMJ, Pagani M, Eglinton TI, Brenner M, Hodell DA, Curtis JH, Ma KF, Breckenridge A. 2014. Preaged plant waxes in tropical lake sediments and their influence on the chronology of molecular paleoclimate proxy records. Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta 141:346–64.
Fang C, Smith P, Moncrieff JB, Smith JU. 2005. Similar response of labile and resistant soil organic matter pools to changes in temperature. Nature 433(7021):57–9.
Farquhar GD, Ehleringer JR, Hubick KT. 1989. Carbon isotope discrimination and photosynthesis. Annual Review of Plant Biology 40:503–37.
Foy RH, McGlynn K, Gibson CE. 1993. Chlorophyll a and nutrients in Lough Erne. Biology and Environment: Proceedings of the Royal Irish Academy 93B(3):163–74.
France RL. 1995. Differentiation between littoral and pelagic food webs in lakes using stable carbon isotopes. Limnology and Oceanography 40(7):1310–3.
Gibson C, Foy R, Fitzsimons A. 1980. A limnological reconnaissance of the Lough Erne system, Ireland. Internationale Revue der Gesamten Hydrobiologie und Hydrographie 65(1):4984.
Gibson C, Anderson N, Zhou Q, Allen M, Appleby P. 2003. Changes in sediment and diatom deposition in Lower Lough Erne c. 1920–90. Biology and Environment: Proceedings of the Royal Irish Academy 103B(1):31–9.
Gibson C, Foy R, McNally J. 2005. Stratification and oxygen depletion in Lower Lough Erne 1991–2000. Biology and Environment: Proceedings of the Royal Irish Academy 105B(2):81–6.
Girvan J, Foy RH. 2006. Trophic stability in an Irish mesotrophic lake. Aquatic Conservation: Marine and Freshwater Ecosystems 16(6):623–6.
Grey J, Jones RI, Sleep D. 2001. Seasonal changes in the importance of the source of organic matter to the diet of zooplankton in Loch Ness, as indicated by stable isotope analysis. Limnology and Oceanography 46(3):505–13.
Gupta G, Sarma V, Robin R, Raman A, Kumar MJ, Rakesh M, Subramanian B. 2008. Influence of net ecosystem metabolism in transferring riverine organic carbon to atmospheric CO2 in a tropical coastal lagoon (Chilka Lake, India). Biogeochemistry 87(3):265–85.
Heathcote AJ, Downing JA. 2012. Impacts of eutrophication on carbon burial in freshwater lakes in an intensively agricultural landscape. Ecosystems 15(1):6070.
Ishikawa NF, Hyodo F, Tayasu I. 2013. Use of carbon-13 and carbon-14 natural abundances for stream food web studies. Ecological Research 28(5):759–69.
Ishikawa NF, Uchida M, Shibata Y, Tayasu I. 2014. Carbon storage reservoirs in watersheds support stream food webs via periphyton production. Ecology 95(5):1264–71.
Karlsson J, Jonsson A, Meili M, Jansson M. 2003. Control of zooplankton dependence on allochthonous organic carbon in humic and clear-water lakes in northern Sweden. Limnology and Oceanography 48(1):269–76.
Keaveney EM, Reimer PJ. 2012. Understanding the variability in freshwater radiocarbon reservoir offsets: a cautionary tale. Journal of Archaeological Science 39(5):1306–16.
Keaveney EM, Reimer PJ, Foy RH. 2015. Young, old, and weathered carbon—Part 2: using radiocarbon and stable isotopes to identify terrestrial carbon support of the food web in an alkaline, humic lake. Radiocarbon 57(3):425–38. [this issue].
Koarashi J, Hockaday WC, Masiello CA, Trumbore SE. 2012. Dynamics of decadally cycling carbon in subsurface soils. Journal of Geophysical Research 117:G03033, doi:10.1029/2012JG002034.
Koehler B, Landelius T, Weyhenmeyer GA, Machida N, Tranvik LJ. 2014. Sunlight-induced carbon dioxide emissions from inland waters. Global Biogeochemical Cycles 28(7):696711.
Kritzberg ES, Langenheder S, Lindström ES. 2006. Influence of dissolved organic matter source on lake bacterioplankton structure and function-implications for seasonal dynamics of community composition. FEMS Microbiology Ecology 56(3):406–17.
Kritzberg ES, Granéli W, Björk J, Brönmark C, Hallgren P, Nicolle A, Persson A, Hansson LA. 2014. Warming and browning of lakes: consequences for pelagic carbon metabolism and sediment delivery. Freshwater Biology 59(2):325–36.
Landmeyer JE, Stone PA. 1995. Radiocarbon and δ13C values related to ground-water recharge and mixing. Groundwater 33(2):227–34
Lapierre J-F, Guillemette F, Berggren M, del Giorgio PA. 2013. Increases in terrestrially derived carbon stimulate organic carbon processing and CO2 emissions in boreal aquatic ecosystems. Nature Communications 4:2972.
Levin I, Kromer B, Hammer S. 2013. Atmospheric Δ14CO2 trend in Western European background air from 2000 to 2012. Tellus B 65:20092.
Liu H. 2013. Thermal response of soil microbial respiration is positively associated with labile carbon content and soil microbial activity. Geoderma 193–194:275–81.
MacDonald GM, Beukens RP, Kieser WE. 1991. Radiocarbon dating of limnic sediments: a comparative analysis and discussion. Ecology 72(3):1150–5.
Maguire C, Gibson C. 2005. Ecological change in Lough Erne: influence of catchment changes and species invasions. Freshwater Forum 24(1):3858.
Maguire CM, Grey J. 2006. Determination of zooplankton dietary shift following a zebra mussel invasion, as indicated by stable isotope analysis. Freshwater Biology 51(7):1310–9.
Manning MP, Reid RC. 1977. CHO systems in the presence of an iron catalyst. Industrial and Engineering Chemistry Process Design and Development 16(3):358–61.
McCallister SL, del Giorgio PA. 2008. Direct measurement of the δ13C signature of carbon respired by bacteria in lakes: linkages to potential carbon sources, ecosystem baseline metabolism, and CO2 fluxes. Limnology and Oceanography 53(4):1204–16.
McConnaughey TA, Burdett J, Whelan JF, Paull CK. 1997. Carbon isotopes in biological carbonates: respiration and photosynthesis. Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta 61(3):611–22.
McGeehin J, Burr GS, Jull AJT, Reines D, Gosse J, Davis PT, Muhs D, Southon JR. 2001. Stepped-combustion 14C dating of sediment: a comparison with established techniques. Radiocarbon 43(2A):255–61.
Nara F, Imai A, Uchida M, Matsushige K, Komatsu K, Kawasaki N, Shibata Y, Amano K, Mikami H, Hanaishi R. 2010. High contribution of recalcitrant organic matter to DOC in a Japanese oligotrophic lake revealed by 14C measurements. Radiocarbon 52(3):1078–83.
Neff J, Finlay J, Zimov S, Davydov S, Carrasco J, Schuur E, Davydova A. 2006. Seasonal changes in the age and structure of dissolved organic carbon in Siberian rivers and streams. Geophysical Research Letters 33:L23401, doi:10.1029/2006GL028222.
Pace ML, Cole JJ, Carpenter SR, Kitchell JF, Hodgson JR, Van De Bogert MC, Bade DL, Kritzberg ES, Bastviken D. 2004. Whole-lake carbon-13 additions reveal terrestrial support of aquatic food webs. Nature 427(6971):240–3.
Polsenaere P, Savoye N, Etcheber H, Canton M, Poirier D, Bouillon S, Abril G. 2013. Export and degassing of terrestrial carbon through watercourses draining a temperate podzolized catchment. Aquatic Sciences 75(2):299319.
Pulido-Villena E, Reche I, Morales-Baquero R. 2005. Food web reliance on allochthonous carbon in two high mountain lakes with contrasting catchments: a stable isotope approach. Canadian Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences 62(11):2640–8.
Rautio M, Vincent FW. 2007. Isotopic analysis of the sources of organic carbon for zooplankton in shallow subarctic and arctic waters. Ecography 30(1):7787.
Rautio M, Mariash H, Forsström L. 2011. Seasonal shifts between autochthonous and allochthonous carbon contributions to zooplankton diets in a subarctic lake. Limnology and Oceanography 56(4):1513–24.
Raymond PA, Bauer JE, Caraco NF, Cole JJ, Longworth B, Petsch ST. 2004. Controls on the variability of organic matter and dissolved inorganic carbon ages in northeast US rivers. Marine Chemistry 92(1–4):353–66.
Reimer PJ, Brown TA, Reimer RW. 2004. Discussion: reporting and calibration of post-bomb 14C data. Radiocarbon 46(3):1299–304.
Roiha T, Tiirola M, Cazzanelli M, Rautio M. 2012. Carbon quantity defines productivity while its quality defines community composition of bacterioplankton in subarctic ponds. Aquatic Sciences 74(3):513–25.
Smyntek PM, Maberly SC, Grey J. 2012. Dissolved carbon dioxide concentration controls baseline stable carbon isotope signatures of a lake food web. Limnology and Oceanography 57(5):1292–302.
Stuiver M, Polach HA. 1977. Discussion: reporting of 14C data. Radiocarbon 19(3):355–63.
Taipale S, Kankaala P, Jones RI. 2007. Contributions of different organic carbon sources to Daphnia in the pelagic foodweb of a small polyhumic lake: results from mesocosm DI13C-additions. Ecosystems 10(5):757–72.
Taipale S, Kankaala P, Tiirola M, Jones RI. 2008. Whole-lake dissolved inorganic 13C additions reveal seasonal shifts in zooplankton diet. Ecology 89(2):463–74.
Taipale SJ, Brett MT, Pulkkinen K, Kainz MJ. 2012. The influence of bacteria-dominated diets on Daphnia magna somatic growth, reproduction, and lipid composition. FEMS Microbiology Ecology 82(1):5062.
Torn M, Kleber M, Zavaleta E, Zhu B, Field C, Trumbore S. 2013. A dual isotope approach to isolate carbon pools of different turnover times. Biogeosciences Discussions 10(6):10,189227.
Tranvik LJ, Downing JA, Cotner JB, Loiselle SA, Striegl RG, Ballatore TJ, Dillon P, Finlay K, Fortino K, Knoll LB. 2009. Lakes and reservoirs as regulators of carbon cycling and climate. Limnology and Oceanography 54(6):2298–314.
Tranvik LJ, Gudasz C, Koehler B, Kothawala D. 2013. Sequestration and loss of organic carbon in inland waters: from microscale to global scale. In: Xu J, Wu J, He Y, editors. Functions of Natural Organic Matter in Changing Environment. Dordrecht: Springer. p 349–51.
Trumbore S. 2000. Age of soil organic matter and soil respiration: radiocarbon constraints on belowground C dynamics. Ecological Applications 10(2):399411.
Trumbore S, Schrumpf M. 2013. How can we best use radiocarbon data to support models of organic matter cycling in ecosystems? Geophysical Research Abstracts 15:EGU20133030.
Trumbore S, Vogel J, Southon J. 1989. AMS 14C measurements of fractionated soil organic matter: an approach to deciphering the soil carbon cycle. Radiocarbon 31(3):644–54.
van der Plicht J, Hogg A. 2006. A note on reporting radiocarbon. Quaternary Geochronology 1(4):237–40.
Vogel JS, Southon JR, Nelson DE, Brown TA. 1984. Performance of catalytically condensed carbon for use in accelerator mass spectrometry. Nuclear Instruments and Methods in Physics Research B 5(2):289–93.
Vuorenmaa J, Forsius M, Mannio J. 2006. Increasing trends of total organic carbon concentrations in small forest lakes in Finland from 1987 to 2003. Science of the Total Environment 365(1–3):4765.
Wilkinson GM, Carpenter SR, Cole JJ, Pace ML, Yang C. 2013. Terrestrial support of pelagic consumers: patterns and variability revealed by a multilake study. Freshwater Biology 58(10):2037–49.
Winterdahl M, Futter M, Köhler S, Laudon H, Seibert J, Bishop K. 2011. Riparian soil temperature modification of the relationship between flow and dissolved organic carbon concentration in a boreal stream. Water Resources Research 47(8):W08532.
Zhou Q, Gibson C, Foy R. 2000. Long-term changes of nitrogen and phosphorus loadings to a large lake in north-west Ireland. Water Research 34(3):922–6.
Zigah PK, Minor EC, Werne JP, McCallister SL. 2011. Radiocarbon and stable carbon isotopic insights into provenance and cycling of carbon in Lake Superior. Limnology and Oceanography 56(3):867–86.
Recommend this journal

Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this journal to your organisation's collection.

Radiocarbon
  • ISSN: 0033-8222
  • EISSN: 1945-5755
  • URL: /core/journals/radiocarbon
Please enter your name
Please enter a valid email address
Who would you like to send this to? *
×

Metrics

Altmetric attention score

Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 0
Total number of PDF views: 16 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 79 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between September 2016 - 23rd November 2017. This data will be updated every 24 hours.