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Trophic state changes can affect the importance of methane-derived carbon in aquatic food webs

Type of publication Peer-reviewed
Publikationsform Original article (peer-reviewed)
Author Schilder Jos, van Hardenbroek Maarten, Bodelier Paul, Kirilova Emiliya P, Leuenberger Markus, Lotter André F, Heiri Oliver,
Project Klima- und Umweltphysik: Isotope im Erdklimasystem (icoCEP)
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Original article (peer-reviewed)

Journal Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences
Volume (Issue) 284
Page(s) 20170278 - 20170278
Title of proceedings Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences
DOI 10.1098/rspb.2017.0278


Methane-derived carbon, incorporated by methane-oxidizing bacteria, has been identified as a significant source of carbon in food webs of many lakes. By measuring the stable carbon isotopic composition (δ13C values) of particulate organic matter, Chironomidae and Daphnia spp. and their resting eggs (ephippia), we show that methane-derived carbon presently plays a relevant role in the food web of hypertrophic Lake De Waay, The Netherlands. Sediment geochemistry, diatom analyses and δ13C measurements of chironomid and Daphnia remains in the lake sediments indicate that oligotrophication and re-eutrophication of the lake during the twentieth century had a strong impact on in-lake oxygen availability. This, in turn, influenced the relevance of methane-derived carbon in the diet of aquatic invertebrates. Our results show that, contrary to expectations, methane-derived relative to photosynthetically produced organic carbon became more relevant for at least some invertebrates during periods with higher nutrient availability for algal growth, indicating a proportionally higher use of methane-derived carbon in the lake's food web during peak eutrophication phases. Contributions of methane-derived carbon to the diet of the investigated invertebrates are estimated to have ranged from 0–11% during the phase with the lowest nutrient availability to 13–20% during the peak eutrophication phase.