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Influence of the ratio of planktonic to benthic diatoms on lacustrine organic matter δ13C from Erlongwan maar lake, northeast China

Wang, Luo; Mackay, Anson W.; Leng, Melanie J.; Rioual, Patrick; Panizzo, Virginia N.; Lu, Houyuan; Gu, Zhaoyan; Chu, Guoqiang; Han, Jingtai; Kendrick, Christopher P.. 2013 Influence of the ratio of planktonic to benthic diatoms on lacustrine organic matter δ13C from Erlongwan maar lake, northeast China. Organic Geochemistry, 54. 62-68. 10.1016/j.orggeochem.2012.09.010

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Abstract/Summary

Carbon isotope ratio (δ13Corg) values of organic matter in lake sediments are commonly used to reconstruct environmental change, but the factors which influence change are varied and complex. Here we report δ13C values for sediments from Erlongwan maar lake in northeast China. In this record, changes in δ13C cannot be explained by simple changes in aquatic productivity. Instead, values were likely influenced by differences in the ratio between planktonic and benthic algae, as indicated by the remains of diatoms. This is because the variation of δ13Corg in algae from different habitats is controlled by the thickness of the diffusive boundary layer, which is dependent on the turbulence of the water. Compared with benthic algae, which grow in relatively still water, pelagic algae are exposed to greater water movement. This is known to dramatically reduce the thickness of the boundary layer and was found to cause even more severe δ13C depletion. In Erlongwan maar lake, low values were linked to the dominance of planktonic diatoms during the period commonly known as the Medieval Warm Period. Values gradually increased with the onset of the Little Ice Age, which we interpret as being driven by an increase in the proportion of benthic taxa, due to effect of the colder climate. The increase in planktonic diatoms at the end of the Little Ice Age, linked to higher temperature and a reduction in ice cover, resulted in a further decline in δ13Corg.

Item Type: Publication - Article
Digital Object Identifier (DOI): 10.1016/j.orggeochem.2012.09.010
ISSN: 01466380
Date made live: 14 Nov 2013 13:06 +0 (UTC)
URI: http://nora.nerc.ac.uk/id/eprint/503847

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