Aquatic Sciences

, Volume 78, Issue 4, pp 809–822 | Cite as

Compound specific δD and δ13C analyses as a tool for the assessment of hydrological change in a subtropical wetland

Research Article

Abstract

Compound specific carbon and deuterium stable isotope values (δ13C and δD) and the relative abundance of mid-chain n-alkanes (Paq) were determined for a series of dominant wetland plants, a surface slough-to-ridge soil transect, and slough and ridge soil cores, to assess historical vegetation successions induced by hydrological modification in an anthropogenically impacted, subtropical wetland, the Florida Everglades, USA. A difference of as much as 3.6 and 130 ‰ in their δ13C and δD values was observed between the two most abundant emergent macrophyte species (Cladium and Eleocharis), respectively. A clear n-alkane δD value depletion (−130 to −167 ‰) and decreasing Paq was observed along the slough-to-ridge soil transect, likely the result of an eco-hydrological transition from slough-to-ridge dominated vegetation (Eleocharis to Cladium). In agreement with the relatively constant Paq values, the lack of significant changes in the δD depth profile for the slough core, suggest a consistent slough type of vegetation composition over time at that location. In contrast, changes of both n-alkane δ13C and δD values for the ridge core, especially after ~1960 AD, coincide with the expected plant successions from historically long hydroperiod (>8 months), slough type plants (Eleocharis, Utricularia, Nymphaea) to present day, shorter hydroperiod (<8 months), ridge type plants (Cladium). These δ13C and δD changes seem to be driven by vegetation shifts associated with hydrological change. The application of the compound-specific stable isotope determinations may strongly complement the biomarker approach for paleo-hydrological assessments in wetland ecosystems.

Keywords

Sub-tropical wetland n-alkanes δD δ13Hydrology 

Supplementary material

27_2016_473_MOESM1_ESM.docx (289 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (DOCX 288 kb)

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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ding He
    • 1
    • 2
  • William T. Anderson
    • 2
    • 3
  • Rudolf Jaffé
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of Chemistry and BiochemistryFlorida International UniversityNorth MiamiUSA
  2. 2.Southeast Environmental Research CenterFlorida International UniversityMiamiUSA
  3. 3.Earth and Environment DepartmentFlorida International UniversityMiamiUSA

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