Mathematical modeling of the aquatic macrophyte inputs of mid-chain n-alkyl lipids to lake sediments: implications for interpreting compound specific hydrogen isotopic records

Gao, L., Hou, J., Toney, J.L. , MacDonald, D. and Huang, Y. (2011) Mathematical modeling of the aquatic macrophyte inputs of mid-chain n-alkyl lipids to lake sediments: implications for interpreting compound specific hydrogen isotopic records. Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta, 75(13), pp. 3781-3791. (doi:10.1016/j.gca.2011.04.008)

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Publisher's URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.gca.2011.04.008

Abstract

We present a systematic study of chain-length distributions and D/H ratios of n-alkyl lipids (both n-alkanes and n-alkanoic acids) in a wide range of terrestrial and aquatic plants around and in Blood Pond, Massachusetts, USA. The primary goal is to establish a model to quantitatively assess the aquatic plant inputs of the mid-chain length n-alkyl lipids to lake sediments and to determine the average hydrogen isotopic ratios of these lipids in different plants. Our results show that middle-chainn-alkyl lipids (C21–C23n-alkanes and C20–C24n-alkanoic acids) are exceptionally abundant in floating and submerged aquatic plants, in contrast to the dominance of long-chainn-alkyl lipids (C27–C31n-alkanes and C26–C32n-alkanoic acids) in other plant types, which are consistent with previously published data from Mountain Kenya and the Tibetan Plateau. Combining available data in different environmental settings allows us to establish statistically robust model distributions of n-alkyl lipids in floating/submerged macrophytes relative to other plant types. Based on the model distributions, we established a multi-source mixing model using a linear algebra approach, in order to quantify the aquaticinputs of mid-chainn-alkyl lipids in lake sediments. The results show that ∼97% of the mid-chainn-alkyl lipids (C23n-alkane and C22n-acid (behenic acid)) in Blood Pond sediments are derived from floating and submerged macrophytes. In addition, D/H ratios of C22n-acid and C23n-alkane in the floating and submerged plants from Blood Pond display relatively narrow ranges of variation (−161 ± 16‰ and −183 ± 18‰, respectively). Our study demonstrates that mid-chainn-alkyl lipids such as C23n-alkane and C22n-acid could be excellent recorders of past lake water isotopic ratios in lakes with abundant floating and submerged macrophyteinputs.

Item Type:Articles
Status:Published
Refereed:Yes
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Toney, Professor Jaime
Authors: Gao, L., Hou, J., Toney, J.L., MacDonald, D., and Huang, Y.
College/School:College of Science and Engineering > School of Geographical and Earth Sciences
Journal Name:Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta
ISSN:0016-7037
Published Online:13 April 2011

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