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Title: Carbon fixation, flux and burial efficiency in two contrasting eutrophic lakes in the UK (Rostherne Mere & Tatton Mere)
Author: Scott, Daniel R.
ISNI:       0000 0004 5366 3385
Awarding Body: Loughborough University
Current Institution: Loughborough University
Date of Award: 2014
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Much of the current research into the processing and storage of carbon (C) in small lakes has focused on arctic and boreal lake systems, due to their global abundance. However this has led to an imbalance in the interpretation of lake functioning. Oligotrophic lakes are prevalent in the arctic and boreal zone, but are typically net heterotrophic due to loading of catchment-derived dissolved organic carbon (DOC) which alters their metabolic balance. In comparison, temperate lake systems tend to be more nutrient rich, typically due to anthropogenic activity, and would therefore be expected to exhibit the signs of net autotrophy, as a result of higher rates of gross primary production (GPP) and lower rates of catchment-derived DOC potentially subsidising respiration (R). In order to test the hypothesis that temperate, eutrophic lakes are net autotrophic (GPP > R) on an annual basis the C-dynamics of Rostherne Mere (maximum depth, zm, 31 m) and Tatton Mere (zm = 11 m), two monomictic Cheshire-Shropshire meres, were quantified over an 18 months period from 2010 2012. This monitoring study used high-resolution (hourly) oxygen (O2) sonde measurements, combined with high-resolution data from an automated on-lake monitoring buoy at Rostherne Mere (as part of the national UKLEON lake network) to calculate rates of epilimnion C-fixation. For both lakes, sediment traps were also used to determine water column C-flux and sediment core data to establish C-burial efficiency of these strongly stratifying lakes. Water column profiles of dissolved O2 and CO2 was also measured at 2 4 weekly intervals across both lakes. Particular attention was focused on: i) the long term C-storage of eutrophic, monomictic lakes; ii) up-scaling C-accumulation estimates from these two meres to the Cheshire-Shropshire meres region and all UK eutrophic waters; and iii) methodological sensitivity for estimating C-fixation, flux and burial efficiency and upscaling C-accumulation estimates. The results show that both lakes are net autotrophic on an annual basis, on average fixing 121 ± 2 g C m-2 yr-1 and sequestering 68 ± 4 g C m-2 yr-1, a C-burial efficiency of ~60%. If up-scaled to the Cheshire-Shropshire meres region, annual C-accumulation was estimated to be 506 ± 32 t C yr-1 or 0.05 ± 0.001 Mt C since 1900. From this, it was estimated that UK eutrophic waters could be sequestering 0.12 ± 0.01 Mt C yr-1 or 13.3 ± 0.2 Mt C since 1900. Annual UK CO2 emissions are ~128.85 Mt C yr-1, therefore UK eutrophic waters currently offset 0.09% of yearly UK CO2 emissions. Despite the finding that eutrophic, stratifying lakes have high C-fixation and sequestration values, lakes in other areas of the globe such as the arctic and boreal zones are typically a more important long term C-sink as they are far more abundant within the landscape and local soils are typically very poor within low C retention rates. Further investigation is needed into how lakes function on a regional and national scale, the importance of lake type and number when up-scaling C accumulation estimates and the potential impact on future C accumulation as a result of a changing environment and supra-regional policies in areas such as Europe.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Loughborough University
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Limnology ; Carbon cycle ; Lake metabolism ; Autotrophy ; Heterotrophy ; Eutrophication ; Lake sediments ; Temperate ; High-resolution monitoring ; Rostherne Mere ; Tatton Mere