Aquatic Sciences

, Volume 73, Issue 3, pp 355–364 | Cite as

The burial efficiency of organic carbon in the sediments of Lake Kinneret

  • Sebastian Sobek
  • Roland Zurbrügg
  • Ilia Ostrovsky
Research Article


Even though lake sediments constitute a significant long-term carbon sink, studies on the regulation of carbon burial in lakes sediments have, to date, been surprisingly few. We investigated to what degree the organic carbon (OC) being deposited onto the bottom of Lake Kinneret (Israel) is buried in the sediment at four different sites with varying degrees of oxygenation and varying supply of allochthonous particles from the River Jordan. For estimation of the OC burial efficiency (OC BE), i.e., the ratio between buried and deposited OC, we calculated OC burial from dated sediment cores, and calculated OC deposition using three different approaches. Calculation of OC deposition from sediment trap-derived mass deposition rates multiplied with the OC content of surface sediment yielded OC BE values that were at odds with published values for sediments dominated by autochthonous OC sources. Calculation via sediment trap data on organic matter flux collected within the Lake Kinneret monitoring program, as well as calculation of OC deposition as the sum of OC burial plus OC mineralization, returned fairly congruent estimates of OC BE (range 10–41%), but only if the sediment trap data were corrected for the proportion of resuspended particles in the traps. Differences in OC BE between sites were small, indicating that OC source (common to all sites) was a more important regulator of OC BE in Lake Kinneret than oxygen exposure or mineral particles characteristics.


Lake sediment Carbon sequestration Organic matter mineralization Oxygen exposure Mineral particle characteristics Sediment resuspension 



We want to thank Werner Eckert and Mina Bizic for support during fieldwork, and Ralf Kägi for ESEM analyses. Financial support from the Swiss National Science Foundation (200020-112274) is acknowledged. This work was partially supported by Lake Kinneret Monitoring Program funded by the Israeli Water Commissioner and by a research grant from the Israeli Science Foundation (ISF Grant 627/07). S. Sobek acknowledges additional support from FORMAS (the Swedish Research Council for Environment, Agricultural Sciences and Spatial Planning).


  1. Aller RC (1998) Mobile deltaic and continental shelf muds as suboxic, fluidized bed reactors. Mar Chem 61(3–4):143–155CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Archer D, Emerson S, Smith CR (1989) Direct measurement of the diffusive sublayer at the deep-sea floor using oxygen microelectrodes. Nature 340(6235):623–626CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Battin TJ, Luyssaert S, Kaplan LA, Aufdenkampe AK, Richter A, Tranvik LJ (2009) The boundless carbon cycle. Nature Geosci 2(9):598–600CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Berman T, Stone L, Yacobi YZ, Kaplan B, Schlichter M, Nishri A, Pollingher U (1995) Primary production and phytoplankton in Lake Kinneret: a long-term record (1972–1993). Limnol Oceanogr 40(6):1064–1076CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Brunauer S, Emmett PH, Teller E (1938) Adsorption of gases in multimolecular layers. J Am Chem Soc 60:309–319CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Burdige DJ (2007) Preservation of organic matter in marine sediments: controls, mechanisms, and an imbalance in sediment organic carbon budgets? Chem Rev 107(2):467–485PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Cole JJ, Prairie YT, Caraco NF, McDowell WH, Tranvik LJ, Striegl RG, Duarte CM, Kortelainen P, Downing JA, Middelburg JJ, Melack J (2007) Plumbing the global carbon cycle: Integrating inland waters into the terrestrial carbon budget. Ecosystems 10(1):171–184CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Dean WE, Gorham E (1998) Magnitude and significance of carbon burial in lakes, reservoirs, and peatlands. Geology 26(6):535–538CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Downing JA, Cole JJ, Middelburg JJ, Striegl RG, Duarte CM, Kortelainen P, Prairie YT, Laube KA (2008) Sediment organic carbon burial in agriculturally eutrophic impoundments over the last century. Global Biogeochem Cycles 22:GB1018. doi: 1010.1029/2006GB002854 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Eckert W, Conrad R (2007) Sulfide and methane evolution in the hypolimnion of a subtropical lake: a three-year study. Biogeochemistry 82(1):67–76CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Erel Y, Dubowski Y, Halicz L, Erez J, Kaufman A (2001) Lead concentrations and isotopic ratios in the sediments of the Sea of Galilee. Environ Sci Technol 35(2):292–299PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Galy V, France-Lanord C, Beyssac O, Faure P, Kudrass H, Palhol F (2007) Efficient organic carbon burial in the Bengal fan sustained by the Himalayan erosional system. Nature 450(7168):407–410PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Granéli HW (1979) A comparison of carbon dioxide production and oxygen uptake in sediment cores from four south Swedish lakes. Holarctic Ecol 2:51–57Google Scholar
  14. Gudasz C, Bastviken D, Steger K, Premke K, Sobek S, Tranvik LJ (2010) Temperature-controlled organic carbon mineralization in lake sediments. Nature 466(7305):478–481PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Hadas O, Pinkas R (1995) Sulfate reduction processes in sediments at different sites in Lake Kinneret, Israel. Microb Ecol 30(1):55–66CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Hartnett HE, Keil RG, Hedges JI, Devol AH (1998) Influence of oxygen exposure time on organic carbon preservation in continental margin sediments. Nature 391(6667):572–574CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Hulthe G, Hulth S, Hall POJ (1998) Effect of oxygen on degradation rate of refractory and labile organic matter in continental margin sediments. Geochim Cosmochim Ac 62(8):1319–1328CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. IPCC (2007) Climate change 2007: the physical science basis. contribution of working group I to the fourth assessment report of the intergovernmental panel on climate change. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, p 996Google Scholar
  19. Keil RG, Montlucon DB, Prahl FG, Hedges JI (1994) Sorptive preservation of labile organic-matter in marine-sediments. Nature 370(6490):549–552CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Koren N, Klein M (2000) Rate of sedimentation in Lake Kinneret, Israel: spatial and temporal variations. Earth Surf Proc Land 25(8):895–904CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Kortelainen P, Pajunen H, Rantakari M, Saarnisto M (2004) A large carbon pool and small sink in boreal Holocene lake sediments. Glob Change Biol 10:1648–1653CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Mayer LM (1999) Extent of coverage of mineral surfaces by organic matter in marine sediments. Geochim Cosmochim Acta 63:207–215CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Mulholland PJ, Elwood JW (1982) The role of lake and reservoir sediments as sinks in the perturbated global carbon cycle. Tellus 34:490–499CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Müller B, Märki M, Schmid M, Vologina EG, Wehrli B, Wuest A, Sturm M (2005) Internal carbon and nutrient cycling in Lake Baikal: sedimentation, upwelling, and early diagenesis. Global Planet Change 46(1–4):101–124CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Ostrovsky I (2000) The upper most layer of bottom sediments: sampling and artifacts. Arch Hydrobiol Spec Issues Advanc Limnol 55:243–255Google Scholar
  26. Ostrovsky I, Yacobi YZ (1999) Organic matter and pigments in surface sediments: possible mechanisms of their horizontal distributions in a stratified lake. Can J Fish Aquat Sci 56(6):1001–1010Google Scholar
  27. Ostrovsky I, Yacobi YZ (2009) Temporal evolution and spatial heterogeneity of ecosystem parameters in a subtropical lake. In: Ciraolo G, Ferreri GB, Napoli E (eds) Proceedings of the 13th International Workshop on Physical Processes in Natural Waters Palermo, Italy, 1–4 Sep, 2009Google Scholar
  28. Ostrovsky I, Yacobi YZ (2010) Sedimentation flux in a large subtropical lake: spatiotemporal variations and relations to primary productivity. Limnol Oceanogr 55(5):1918–1931CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Ostrovsky I, Yacobi YZ, Walline P, Kalikhman I (1996) Seiche-induced mixing: its impact on lake productivity. Limnol Oceanogr 41(2):323–332CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Rothman DH, Forney DC (2007) Physical model for the decay and preservation of marine organic carbon. Science 316(5829):1325–1328PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Serruya C (1978) Lake Kinneret. Dr. W. Junk bv Publishers, The HagueGoogle Scholar
  32. Sobek S, Durisch-Kaiser E, Zurbrügg R, Wongfun N, Wessels M, Pasche N, Wehrli B (2009) Organic carbon burial efficiency in lake sediments controlled by oxygen exposure time and sediment source. Limnol Oceanogr 54(6):2243–2254CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Stiller M (1979) Sedimentation patterns in Lake Kinneret. In: Isotopes in lake studies. IAEA International Atomic Energy Agency, Vienna, pp 273–285Google Scholar
  34. Stiller M, Imboden DM (1986) 210Pb in Lake Kinneret waters and sediments: residence times and fluxes. In: Sly PG (ed) Sediments and water interactions. Springer-Verlag, New York, pp 501–511Google Scholar
  35. Tranvik LJ, Downing J, Cotner J, Loiselle S, Striegl RG, Ballatore TJ, Dillon P, Finlay K, Fortino K, Knoll LB, Kortelainen P, Kutser T, Larsen S, Laurion I, Leech DM, McCallister SL, McKnight DM, Melack JM, Overholt E, Porter JA, Prairie Y, Renwick WH, Roland F, Sherman BS, Schindler DW, Sobek S, Tremblay A, Vanni MJ, Verschoor AM, von Wachenfeldt E, Weyhenmeyer GA (2009) Lakes and impoundments as regulators of carbon cycling and climate. Limnol Oceanogr 54(6, part 2):2298–2314CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Yacobi YZ, Ostrovsky I (2008) Downward flux of organic matter and pigments in Lake Kinneret (Israel): relationships between phytoplankton and the material collected in sediment traps. J Plankton Res 30(10):1189–1202CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Basel AG 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Sebastian Sobek
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
  • Roland Zurbrügg
    • 1
    • 2
  • Ilia Ostrovsky
    • 4
  1. 1.Eawag, Swiss Federal Institute of Aquatic Science and TechnologyKastanienbaumSwitzerland
  2. 2.Institute of Biogeochemistry and Pollutant DynamicsETH, Swiss Federal Institute of Technology ZurichZürichSwitzerland
  3. 3.Department of Ecology and Genetics, LimnologyUppsala UniversityUppsalaSweden
  4. 4.Israel Oceanographic and Limnological ResearchYigal Allon Kinneret Limnological LaboratoryMidgalIsrael

Personalised recommendations