, Volume 138, Issue 3, pp 297–321 | Cite as

The sources and distribution of carbon (DOC, POC, DIC) in a mangrove dominated estuary (French Guiana, South America)

  • R. Ray
  • E. Michaud
  • R. C. Aller
  • V. Vantrepotte
  • G. Gleixner
  • R. Walcker
  • J. Devesa
  • M. Le Goff
  • S. Morvan
  • G. Thouzeau


Mangrove forests are highly productive coastal ecosystems that significantly influence global carbon cycling. This study characterized the sources of dissolved organic carbon (DOC), particulate organic carbon (POC) and dissolved inorganic carbon (DIC) and the processes affecting their distributions in a mangrove-influenced estuary located in French Guiana (FG), a region representative of these dynamic systems down drift of the Amazon River. Four sampling cruises were carried out between 2013 and 2015 in surface waters of the estuary during dry and wet seasons. Stable isotopes (δ13DOC, δ13POC, δ13DIC), elemental ratios and optical properties (absorption) were used as proxies to identify different C sources. Property–salinity relationships revealed regions of approximately linear mixing (e.g., alkalinity) or net sources or sinks (e.g., DOC). DIC speciation and isotopic distributions demonstrated dynamic source–sink reaction processes within the estuary. DOC was the major form of organic carbon representing mixtures of terrestrial sources (e.g., pore water, litter leaching) and very high concentration (400–800 µM) compared to other mangrove settings (e.g. Brazilian, Sundarbans, African). Highly negative δ13POC (− 40‰) in the riverine part presumably suggests the role of freshwater phytoplankton in the dry season and methanotrophic sources derived from senescent mangrove deposits or upstream hydrothermal dam during the wet season. Microphytobenthos and marine phytoplankton were the primary sources of POC inshore and DOC offshore, respectively. Mangrove products and benthic microalgae dominated estuarine sources of C in FG coastal waters (~ 10 km, inner shelf region), and there was extensive exchange of C between forest and tidal flat and the estuarine reservoirs.


Stable isotopes Microphytobenthos Methanotrophy Remineralization Mangroves Amazonian system 



R. Ray is indebted to LabexMER International Postdoctoral Program for providing fellowship (FNP150009-DOCT-RAY). This work was co-funded by the French National Research Agency under the programs “young researcher” (BIOMANGO project: ANR-12-JSV7-0012-01) and “Investissements d’Avenir” LabexMER (ANR-10-LABX-19) and LabexCEBA (ANR-10-LABX-25-01). It was also supported by the CNRS-INEE programs (PEPS Mangrove “MANCOCO” and PIG “Mangrove-Lab”). R. Aller was additionally funded by NSF grant OCE 1332418. Authors thank O. Lebeau (Pole Spectrométrie Océan UMS IUEM) for her help in the laboratory work and J. Printemps and I. Klingensmith for their great help in the field. Steven Bouillon of Katholieke Universiteit Leuven is particularly acknowledged for kindly analyzing δ13DIC samples. Authors also thank Steffen Ruehlow and Ines Hilke of Max Planck Institute for Biogeochemistry-Jena, for measuring δ13DOC and DOC samples, respectively. The authors thank ECOFOG research structure in Kourou (E. Marcon and V. Troispoux), A. Gardel (LEEISA) and F. Fromard (ECOLAB) for their support and helpful discussions. Associate Editor and reviewers are thanked for their constructive comments. This paper is a GDR LIGA contribution.

Supplementary material

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Supplementary material 1 (DOCX 22 kb)


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© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Laboratoire des Sciences de l’Environnement Marin (LEMAR)UMR 6539, (UBO/CNRS/IRD/Ifremer), Institut Universitaire Européen de la MerPlouzanéFrance
  2. 2.School of Marine and Atmospheric ScienceStony Brook UniversityStony BrookUSA
  3. 3.Laboratoire d’Océanologie et de Géosciences (LOG)Université du Littoral Côte d’OpaleWimereuxFrance
  4. 4.USR LEEISA (Laboratoire Ecologie Evolution et Interactions des Systèmes Amazoniens)CayenneFrench Guiana
  5. 5.Department of Biogeochemical ProcessesMax Planck Institute for BiogeochemistryJenaGermany
  6. 6.EcoLabUniversité de Toulouse, CNRSToulouseFrance

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