Advertisement

Journal of Paleolimnology

, Volume 49, Issue 2, pp 129–143 | Cite as

A 100-year record of changes in organic matter characteristics and productivity in Lake Bhimtal in the Kumaon Himalaya, NW India

  • Preetam Choudhary
  • Joyanto RouthEmail author
  • Govind J. Chakrapani
Original paper

Abstract

Sediment variables total organic carbon (TOC), total nitrogen (TN), total sulfur (TS), as well as their accumulation rates and atomic ratios (C/N and C/S), were studied along with stable isotopes (δ13C, δ15N, and δ34S), and specific biomarkers (n-alkanes and pigments) in a 35-cm-long sediment core from Lake Bhimtal, NW India. The average sedimentation rate is 3.6 mm year−1, and the core represents a provisional record of ~100 years of sedimentation history. Bulk elemental records and their ratios indicate that sediment organic matter (OM) is derived primarily from algae. In-lake productivity increased sharply over the last two decades, consistent with paleoproductivity reconstructions from other lakes in the area. An up-core decrease in δ13C values, despite other evidence for an increase in lake productivity, implies that multiple biogeochemical processes (e.g. external input of sewage or uptake of isotopically depleted CO2 as a result of fossil fuel burning) influence the C isotope record in the lake. The δ15N values (−0.2 to −3.9 ‰) reflect the presence of N-fixing cyanobacteria, and an increase in lake productivity. The δ34S profile shows enrichment of up to 5.6 ‰, and suggests that sulfate reduction occurred in these anoxic sediments. Increases in total n-alkane concentrations and their specific ratios, such as the Carbon Preference Index (CPI) and Terrestrial Aquatic Ratio (TAR), imply in-lake algal production. Likewise, pigments indicate an up-core increase in total concentration and dominance of cyanobacteria over other phytoplankton. Geochemical trends indicate a recent increase in the lake’s trophic state as a result of human-induced changes in the catchment. The study highlights the vulnerability of mountain lakes in the Himalayan region to both natural and anthropogenic processes, and the difficulties associated with reversing trophic state and ecological changes.

Keywords

Paleoproductivity Organic matter Stable isotopes n-Alkanes Pigments 

Notes

Acknowledgments

P. Parthasarathy and R. Saini helped in sampling the lake. Supriyo Das assisted with pigment analysis. Dr. Bhishm Kumar is acknowledged for providing the lab facilities for lead dating. Discussions with Val Klump and Mark Baskaran on sediment chronology were helpful. Andrea Baker reviewed an earlier draft of the manuscript. Suggestions by editor Mark Brenner and two anonymous reviewers greatly improved the manuscript. We thank the Swedish Research Link-Asia program and CSIR (India) for supporting the study.

References

  1. Ali MB, Tripathi RD, Rai UN, Pal A, Singh SP (1999) Physico-chemical characteristic and pollution level of lake Nainital (UP, India): role of macrophytes and phytoplankton in biomonitoring and phytoremediation of toxic metal ions. Chemosphere 39:2171–2182CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Allan J, Douglas AG (1977) Variations in the content and distribution of n-alkanes in a series of Carboniferous vitrinites and sporinites of bituminous rank. Geochim Cosmochim Acta 41:1223–1230CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Appleby PG (2001) Chronostratigraphic techniques in recent sediments. In: Last WM, Smol JP (eds) Tracking environmental change using lake sediments. Basin analysis, coring, and chronological techniques, vol 1. Kluwer, Dordrecht, pp 171–203Google Scholar
  4. Appleby PG, Oldfield F (1978) The calculation of 210Pb dates assuming a constant rate of supply of unsupported 210Pb to the sediments. Catena 5:1–8CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Battarbee RW, Grytnes JA, Thompson R, Appleby PG, Catalan J, Korhola A, Birks HIB, Heegard E, Lami A (2002) Comparing palaeolimnological and instrumental evidence of climatic change for remote mountain lakes over last 200 years. J Paleolimnol 28:161–179CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Berner RA, Raiswell R (1984) C/S method for distinguishing freshwater from marine sedimentary rocks. Geology 12:365–368CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Bianchi TS, Westman P, Rolff C, Engelhaupt E, Andrén T, Elmgren R (2000) Cyanobacterial blooms in Baltic Sea: natural or human induced? Limnol Oceanogr 45:716–726CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Bianchi TS, Rolff C, Widbom B, Elmgren R (2002) Phytoplankton pigments in Baltic Sea sestoon and sediments: seasonal variability, fluxes and transformations. Estuar Coastal Shelf Sci 55:369–383CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Borgendahl J, Westman P (2007) Cyanobacteria as a trigger fro increase primary productivity during sapropel formation in the Baltic Sea–a study of the Ancylus/Litorina transition. J Paleolimnol 38:1–12CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Bourbonniere RA, Meyers PA (1996) Sedimentary geolipid records of historical changes in the watersheds and productivities of Lake Ontario and Erie. Limnol Oceanogr 41:352–359CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Brenner M, Whitmore TJ, Curtis JH, Hodell DA, Schelske CL (1999) Stable isotope (δ13C and δ15N) signatures of sedimented organic matter as indicators of historic lake trophic state. J Paleolimnol 22:205–221CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Chakrapani GJ (2002) Water and sediment geochemistry of major Kumaun Himalayan lakes, India. Environ Geol 43:99–107CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Choudhary P, Routh J (2010) Distribution of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons in Kumaun Himalayan Lakes, northwest India. Org Geochem 41:891–894CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Choudhary P, Routh J, Chakrapani GJ, Kumar B (2009a) Organic matter and stable isotopic record of paleoenvironmental changes in sediments from Nainital Lake in Kumaun Himalayas, India. J Paleolimnol 42:571–586CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Choudhary P, Routh J, Chakrapani GJ (2009b) An environmental record of changes in sedimentary organic matter from Lake Sattal in Kumaun Himalayas, India. Sci Total Environ 407:2783–2795CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Cranwell PA, Eglinton G, Robinson N (1987) Lipids of aquatic organisms as potential contribution to lacustrine sediments II. Org Geochem 11:513–527CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Das BK (2005) Environmental pollution impact on water and sediments of Kumaun lakes, lesser Himalaya, India: a comparative study. Environ Geol 49:230–239CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Das BK, Singh M, Borkar MD (1994) Sediments accumulation rate in the lakes of Kumaun Himalaya, India using 210Pb and 226 Ra. Environ Geol 23:114–118CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Das S, Routh J, Roychoudhury AN (2009) Biomarker evidence of macrophytes and phytoplankton community change in a shallow lake, Zeekoevlei, South Africa. J Paleolimnol 41:507–521CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Dere S, Güneş T, Sivaci R (1998) Spectrophotometric determination of chlorophyll: a, b and total carotenoid contents of some algae species using different solvents. Tr J Bot 22:13–17Google Scholar
  21. Gälman V, Rydberg J, de-Luna SS, Bindler R, Renberg I (2008) Carbon and nitrogen loss rates during aging of lake sediment: changes over 27 years studied in varved lake sediment. Limnol Oceanogr 53:1076–1082CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Grossman EL, Desrocher S (2001) Microbial sulfur cycling in terrestrial subsurface environments. In: Fletcher M, Fredrickson JK (eds) Subsurface microbiology and biogeochemistry. Wiley-Liss Inc, New York, pp 219–248Google Scholar
  23. Hedges JI, Stern JH (1984) Carbon and Nitrogen determination of carbonate-containing solids. Limnol Oceanogr 29:663–666CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Heiri O, Lotter AF, Lemcke G (2001) Loss on ignition as a method for estimating organic and carbonate content in sediments: reproducibility and comparability of results. J Paleolimnol 25:101–110CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Hodell DA, Schelske CL (1998) Production, sedimentation and isotopic composition of organic matter in Lake Ontario. Limnol Oceanogr 43:200–214CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Ishiwatari R, Yamamoto S, Uemura H (2005) Lipid and lignin/cutin compounds in Lake Baikal sediments over the last 37 kyr: implications for glacial-interglacial palaeoenvironmental change. Org Geochem 36:327–347CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Kaushal S, Binford MW (1999) Relationship between C:N ratios of lake sediments, organic matter sources, and historical deforestation of Lake Pleasant, Massachusetts, USA. J Paleolimnol 22:432–442CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Kumar B, Rai SP, Nachiappan RP, Kumar SU, Singh S, Diwedi VK (2007) Sedimentation rate in North Indian lakes estimated using 137Cs and 210Pb dating techniques. Curr Sci 92:10–25Google Scholar
  29. Lallier-Vergès E, Bertrand P, Desprairies A (1993) Organic matter composition and sulphate reduction intensity in Oman margin sediments. Mar Geol 112:57–69CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Lallier-Vergès E, Hayes JM, Boussafir M, Zaback DA, Tribovillard NP, Connan J, Bertrand P (1997) Productivity-induced sulphur enrichment of hydrocarbon-rich sediments from the Kimmeridge Clay Formation. Chem Geol 134:277–288CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Leavitt PR (1993) A review of factors that regulate carotenoid and chlorophyll deposition and fossil abundance. J Paleolimnol 9:109–127CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Leavitt PR, Hodgson DA (2001) Sedimentary pigments. In: Smol JP, Birks HJB, Last WM (eds) Tracking environmental change using lake sediments, vol. 3. Terrestrial, algal and siliceous indicators, vol 3. Kluwer, Dodrecht, pp 255–262Google Scholar
  33. Leavitt PR, Carpenter SR, Kitchell JF (1989) Whole-lake experiments: the annual record of fossil pigments and zooplankton. Limnol Oceanogr 34:700–717CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Lehmann MF, Bernasconi SM, Barbieri A, McKenzie JA (2002) Preservation of organic matter and alteration of its carbon and nitrogen isotope composition during simulated and in situ early sedimentary diagenesis. Geochim Cosmochim Acta 66:3573–3584CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Lichtenthaler HK, Wellburn AR (1985) Determination of total carotenoids and chlorophylls a and b of leaf in different solvents. Biol Soc Transac 11:591–592Google Scholar
  36. Meyers PA (1997) Organic geochemical proxies of paleoceanographic, paleolimnologic, and palaeoclimatic processes. Org Geochem 27:213–250CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Meyers PA (2003) Applications of organic geochemistry of paleolimnological reconstructions: a summary of examples from the Laurentian Great Lakes. Org Geochem 34:261–289CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Meyers PA, Teranes JL (2001) Sediment organic matter. In: Last WM, Smol JP (eds) Tracking environmental change using lake sediments, physical and geochemical methods, vol 2. Kluwer, Dordrecht, pp 239–269CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Müller PJ, Suess E (1979) Productivity, sedimentation rate, and sedimentary organic matter in the oceans I. Organic carbon preservation. Deep-Sea Res 26A:1347–1362CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Nagdali SS, Gupta PK (2002) Impact of mass mortality of a mosquito fish, Gambusiaaffinis on the ecology of fresh water eutropic lake (Lake Nainital, India). Hydrobiologia 468:45–52CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Putschew A, Scholz-Böttcher BM, Rullkötter J (1995) Organic geochemistry of sulfur-rich surface sediments of meromictic Lake Cadango, Swiss Alps. In: Vairavamurthy MA, Schoonen MAA (eds) Geochemical transformations of sedimentary sulfur. ACS Symposium Series 612, pp 59–79Google Scholar
  42. Rieley G, Collier RJ, Jones DM, Eglinton G (1991) The biogeochemistry of Ellesmere Lake, UK I: source correlation of leaf wax inputs to the sedimentary record. Org Geochem 17:901–912CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Routh J, Meyers PA, Gustafsson Ö, Baskaran M, Hallberg R, Scholdström A (2004) Sedimentary geochemical record of human induced environmental changes in the Lake Brunnsviken watershed, Sweden. Limnol Oceanogr 49:1560–1569CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Routh J, Choudhary P, Meyers PA, Kumar B (2009) Sedimentary record of nutrient loadings and recent trophic changes in Lake Norrviken, Sweden. J Paleolimnol 42:325–341CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. Roux L, Marshall WA (2010) Constructing recent peat accumulation chronologies using atmospheric fall-out radionuclides. Mires Peat 7:1–14Google Scholar
  46. Schelske CL, Hodell DA (1995) Using carbon isotopes of bulk sedimentary organic matter to reconstruct the history of nutrient loading and eutrophication in Lake Erie. Limnol Oceanogr 40:918–929CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. Sharma AP, Jaiswal S, Negi V, Pant MC (1982) Phytoplankton community analysis in lakes of Kumaon Himalaya. Arch Hydrobiol 93:173–193Google Scholar
  48. Singh SP, Gopal B, Kathuria V (2001) Integrated management of water resources of Lake Nainital and its watershed: an environmental economics approach. EERC Report, Indira Gandhi Institute for Developmental Research, Mumbai. 39 ppGoogle Scholar
  49. Talbot MR (2001) Nitrogen isotopes in paleolimnology. In: Last WM, Smol JP (eds) Tracking environmental changes using lake sediments. Physical and geochemical methods, vol 2. Kluwer, Dordrecht, pp 401–439Google Scholar
  50. Teranes JL, Bernasconi SM (2000) The record of nitrate utilization and productivity limitation provided by δ15N values in lake organic matter: a study of sediment trap and core sediments from Baldeggersee Switzerland. Limnol Oceanogr 45:801–813CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  51. Urban NR, Ernst K, Bernasconi S (1999) Addition of sulfur to organic matter during early diagenesis of lake sediments. Geochim Cosmochim Acta 63:837–853CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  52. Valdiya KS (1988) Geology and Natural Environment of Nainital Hills, Kumaun Himalaya. Gyanodaya Prakashan, Nainital, pp 1–156Google Scholar
  53. Vetõ I, Hetényi M, Demény A, Hertelendi E (1994) Hydrogen index as reflecting intensity of sulphidic diagenesis in non-bioturbated, shaly sediments. Org Geochem 22:299–310CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  54. Vreča P, Muri G (2006) Changes in accumulation of organic matter and stable carbon and nitrogen isotopes in sediments of two Slovenian mountain lakes (Lake Ledvica and Lake Planina) induced by eutrophication changes. Limnol Oceanogr 51:781–790CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Preetam Choudhary
    • 1
  • Joyanto Routh
    • 2
    Email author
  • Govind J. Chakrapani
    • 3
  1. 1.Limnology Department, Evolutionary Biology CentreUppsala UniversityUppsalaSweden
  2. 2.Department of Water and Environmental StudiesLinköping UniversityLinköpingSweden
  3. 3.Department of Earth SciencesIndian Institute of TechnologyRoorkeeIndia

Personalised recommendations