H-Print: a new chemical fingerprinting approach for distinguishing primary production sources in Arctic ecosystems
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- Brown, T.A., Yurkowski, D.J., Ferguson, S.H. et al. Environ Chem Lett (2014) 12: 387. doi:10.1007/s10311-014-0459-1
The unambiguous identification of discrete sources of organic matter is critical for understanding the processes that affect ecosystem structure. Here, we demonstrate how changes in the relative proportions of highly branched isoprenoid lipids can provide a straightforward analytical method to distinguish between organic matter derived from sea ice and seawater within an Arctic ecosystem. In combination with stable isotope analysis, we reconstruct the organic matter pathway across trophic levels, thereby elucidating specific organic matter energy transfers. Combined, these methods will provide a useful analytical approach for determining ecosystem structure in the future. This is likely to become increasingly important as the Arctic continues to experience a phase of rapid climate change.