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Integrated transfers of terrigenous organic matter to lakes at their watershed level: A combined biomarker and GIS analysis

Teisserenc, Roman and Lucotte, Marc and Houel, Stéphane and Carreau, Jean Integrated transfers of terrigenous organic matter to lakes at their watershed level: A combined biomarker and GIS analysis. (2010) Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta, 74 (22). 6375-6386. ISSN 0016-7037

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Official URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.gca.2010.08.029


Terrigenous organic matter (TOM) transfer from a watershed to a lake plays a key role in contaminants fate and greenhouse gazes emission in these aquatic ecosystems. In this study, we linked physiographic and vegetation characteristics of a watershed with TOM nature deposited in lake sediments. TOM was characterized using lignin biomarkers as indicators of TOM sources and state of degradation. Geographical information system (GIS) also allowed us to integrate and describe the landscape morpho-edaphic characteristics of a defined drainage basin. Combining these tools we found a significant and positive relationship (R2 = 0.65, p < 0.002) between mean slope of the watershed and the terrigenous fraction estimated by Λ8 in recent sediments. The mean slope also correlated with the composition of TOM in recent sediments as P/(V + S) and 3,5Bd/V ratios significantly decreased with the steepness of the watersheds (R2 = 0.57, p < 0.021 and R2 = 0.71, p < 0.004, respectively). More precisely, areas with slopes comprised between 4° and 10° have a major influence on TOM inputs to lakes. The vegetation composition of each watershed influenced the composition of recent sediments of the sampled lakes. The increasing presence of angiosperm trees in the watershed influenced the export of TOM to the lake as Λ8 increased significantly with the presence of this type of vegetation (R2 = 0.44, p < 0.019). A similar relationship was also observed with S/V ratios, an indicator of angiosperm sources for TOM. The type of vegetation also greatly influenced the degradation state of OM. In this study, we were able to determine that low-sloped areas (0–2°) act as buffer zones for lignin inputs and by extension for TOM loading to sediments. The relative contribution of TOM from the soil organic horizons also increased in steeper watersheds. This study has significant implications in our understanding of the fate of TOM in lacustrine ecosystems.

Item Type:Article
Additional Information:Thanks to Elsevier editor. The definitive version is available at http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0016703710004783
Audience (journal):International peer-reviewed journal
Uncontrolled Keywords:
Institution:Other partners > Université du Québec à Montréal - UQAM (CANADA)
Other partners > University of Colorado at Boulder - UCB (USA)
Laboratory name:
Deposited On:28 Sep 2012 10:22

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