Patterns of sediment organic matter deposition in lakes reflect the factors that affect the production of organic matter in the lake and watershed and the removal of organic matter from the sediments. We surveyed the percent sediment organic matter of 22 lakes in the Alaskan Arctic and the rate of organic matter loss with sediment age in 3 lakes in the same region. The variation in sediment organic matter among lakes was greater than the variation between shallow and deep locations within the same lake, which is consistent with landscape-scale control of variation in sediment organic matter. In shallow water sediments, percent sediment organic matter was positively correlated with the amount of light reaching the sediments and the concentration of dissolved oxygen in the overlying water, suggesting that differences in organic matter content reflect differences in benthic production. The percent organic matter of the sediments in deep water was correlated with the percent organic matter in the sediments from shallow water but not environmental variables. The results suggest that variation in sediment organic matter in this region may be influenced by variation in benthic organic matter production more than by the loss of organic matter via mineralization.
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Invaluable field assistance was provided by Dendy Lofton, Matthew Harrell, Tim Yarborough, and all the members of the Geomorphic Trophic Hypothesis project. We would like to thank the Toolik Lake staff for all of their support during this project. Comments by Dina Leech improved a previous draft of this manuscript. The calculation of the lake and watershed areas and the production of the map in Fig. 1 were performed by Randy Fulweber and Jason Stuckey of the Toolik Lake GIS support staff. Funding was provided by National Science Foundation Grants NSF 0323557 and NSF 0516043.
Handling editor: Zhengwen Liu
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Fortino, K., Whalen, S.C. & Smoak, J.M. Patterns in the percent sediment organic matter of arctic lakes. Hydrobiologia 777, 149–160 (2016). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10750-016-2771-1
- Light attenuation
- Burial efficiency