Articles | Volume 13, issue 2
https://doi.org/10.5194/bg-13-517-2016
https://doi.org/10.5194/bg-13-517-2016
Research article
 | 
26 Jan 2016
Research article |  | 26 Jan 2016

Dissolved organic carbon lability and stable isotope shifts during microbial decomposition in a tropical river system

N. Geeraert, F. O. Omengo, G. Govers, and S. Bouillon

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Short summary
Rivers transport a large amount of carbon as dissolved organic carbon (DOC). Our incubation experiments on water of the Tana River, Kenya, showed that microbial decomposition of 10–60 % of the initial DOC occurred within the first 24–48 h. Simultaneously, there was a decrease in isotopic composition, indicating that DOC derived from C4 vegetation is preferentially decomposed. This has implications for the assessment of vegetation in a catchment based on isotope signatures of riverine carbon.
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