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Influence of lake water pH and alkalinity on the distribution of coreand intact polar branched glycerol dialkyl glycerol tetraethers (GDGTs) in lakes
Schoon, P.L.; de Kluijver, A.; Middelburg, J.J.; Downing, J.A.; Sinninghe Damsté, J.S.; Schouten, S. (2013). Influence of lake water pH and alkalinity on the distribution of coreand intact polar branched glycerol dialkyl glycerol tetraethers (GDGTs) in lakes. Org. Geochem. 60: 72-82. dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.orggeochem.2013.04.015
In: Organic Geochemistry. Elsevier: Oxford; New York. ISSN 0146-6380, more
Peer reviewed article  

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  • Schoon, P.L., more
  • de Kluijver, A., more
  • Middelburg, J.J., more
  • Downing, J.A.
  • Sinninghe Damsté, J.S., more
  • Schouten, S., more

Abstract
    Branched glycerol dialkyl glycerol tetraethers (GDGTs) are bacterial membrane lipids, ubiquitously present in soils and peat bogs, as well as in rivers, lakes and lake sediments. Their distribution in soil is controlled mainly by pH and mean annual air temperature, but the controls on their distribution in lake sediments are less well understood. Several studies have found a relationship between the distribution of branched GDGTs in lake sediments and average lake water pH, suggesting an aquatic source for them, besides that for soil transported to the lake via erosion. We sampled the surface water suspended particulate matter (SPM) from 23 lakes in Minnesota and Iowa (USA), that vary widely in pH, alkalinity and trophic state. The SPM was analyzed for the concentration and distributions of core lipid (presumed fossil origin) and intact polar lipid (IPL, presumed to derive from living cells) branched GDGTs. The presence of substantial amounts (18-48%) of IPL-derived branched GDGTs suggests that branched GDGTs are likely of autochthonous origin. Temperature estimates based on their distribution using lake-specific calibrations agree reasonably with water temperature at time of sampling and average air temperature of the season of sampling. Importantly, a strong correlation between the distribution of branched GDGTs and lake water pH was found (r(2) 0.72), in agreement with a predominant in situ production. An stronger correlation was found with lake water alkalinity (r(2) 0.83), although the underlying mechanism that controls the relationship is not understood. Our results raise the potential for reconstructing pH/alkalinity of past lake environments, which could provide important knowledge on past developments in lake water chemistry.

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