δ13C composition of primary producers and role of detritus in a freshwater coastal ecosystem

Janet R. Keough, Cynthia A Hagley, Elaine M Ruzycki, Michael Sierszen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

80 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Stable-isotope ratio signatures of primary producers in a coastal wetland and in adjacent offshore waters of western Lake Superior indicated that phytoplankton are the primary source of carbon for the grazing food web of this ecosystem. This study outlines the possible roles of other autotrophs in this regard. Isotopic signatures of macrophytes reflected their life-form-associated constraints on diffusion of inorganic carbon. Data indicated that differences between wetland and lake phytoplankton may be explained by the isotopic signatures of their dissolved inorganic carbon (DIC) sources. Results of an in situ experiment showed that respiration associated with macrophyte decomposition is capable of enriching surrounding water with significant amounts of 13C-depleted DIC and lowering the net δ13C ratio of DIC in water in lowturbulence situations. The δ13C ratio for wetland phytoplankton may be depleted relative to pelagic algae because the fixed carbon is derived from decomposing detritus.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)734-740
Number of pages7
JournalLimnology and Oceanography
Volume43
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Jun 1 1998

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dissolved inorganic carbon
detritus
phytoplankton
ecosystems
carbon
wetland
wetlands
coastal wetland
inorganic carbon
lake
macrophyte
algae
water
food web
stable isotope
respiration
grazing
alga
decomposition
Lake Superior

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δ13C composition of primary producers and role of detritus in a freshwater coastal ecosystem. / Keough, Janet R.; Hagley, Cynthia A; Ruzycki, Elaine M; Sierszen, Michael.

In: Limnology and Oceanography, Vol. 43, No. 4, 01.06.1998, p. 734-740.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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