Journal of Paleolimnology

, Volume 44, Issue 2, pp 387–395

Potential of δ13C and δ15N of cladoceran subfossil exoskeletons for paleo-ecological studies

Original Paper

DOI: 10.1007/s10933-009-9340-9

Cite this article as:
Perga, ME. J Paleolimnol (2010) 44: 387. doi:10.1007/s10933-009-9340-9


Stable isotope analyses on cladoceran subfossil exoskeletons retrieved from sediment cores could allow the reconstruction of past changes in lake food webs provided the δ13C and δ15N values of the exoskeletons reflect those of the organisms’ whole body. The relationships between the C and N stable isotope compositions of the exoskeletons and those of the whole body were investigated for two freshwater cladoceran taxa (Bosmina sp. and Daphnia sp.) from modern samples. The C and N stable isotope compositions of the exoskeleton and those of the whole body were strongly correlated. Exoskeleton δ13C was similar to the whole body δ13C for both taxa. Daphnia exoskeletons were strongly depleted in 15N (−7.9‰) compared to the whole body. Stable isotope analyses were thereafter performed on cladoceran remains from five downcore samples from Lake Annecy, France. Results showed that Bosmina δ15N values increased by more than 4‰, between the early twentieth and twenty first centuries. Such changes might be the result of changes in nitrogen sources or cycling in the lake and/or of major shifts in Bosmina trophic position within the lake food web. This study sets up the potential of stable isotope analyses performed on cladoceran subfossil remains for paleo-ecological purposes.


Stable isotopeFood webZooplanktonSedimentChitinLake

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.National Institute for Agronomical Research (INRA)Alpine Centre for Research on Lake Ecosystems and Food Webs (CARRTEL)Thonon les Bains CedexFrance