Articles | Volume 13, issue 2
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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Cited articles

Alvarez-Cobelas, M., Angeler, D., Sánchez-Carillo, S., and Almendros, G.: A worldwide view of organic carbon export from catchments, Biogeochemistry, 107, 275–293, 2012.
Amon, R. and Benner, R.: Photochemical and microbial consumption of dissolved organic carbon and dissolved oxygen in the Amazon River system, Geochim. Cosmochim. Ac., 60, 1783–1792, 1996.
Aufdenkampe, A. K., Mayorga, E., Raymond, P. A., Melack, J. M., Doney, S. C., Alin, S. R., Aalto, R. E., and Yoo, K.: Riverine coupling of biogeochemical cycles between land, oceans, and atmosphere, Front. Ecol. Environ., 9, 53–60, 2011.
Battin, T. J., Kaplan, L. A., Newbold, J. D., and Hansen, C. M. E.: Contributions of microbial biofilms to ecosystem processes in stream mesocosms, Nature, 426, 439–442, 2003.
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.
Final-revised paper