Articles | Volume 13, issue 24
Research article
22 Dec 2016
Research article |  | 22 Dec 2016

Variations in triple isotope composition of dissolved oxygen and primary production in a subtropical reservoir

Hana Jurikova, Tania Guha, Osamu Abe, Fuh-Kwo Shiah, Chung-Ho Wang, and Mao-Chang Liang

Abstract. Lakes and reservoirs play an important role in the carbon cycle, and therefore monitoring their metabolic rates is essential. The triple oxygen-isotope anomaly of dissolved O2 [17Δ =  ln(1+δ17O) − 0.518  ×  ln(1 + δ18O)] offers a new, in situ, perspective on primary production, yet little is known about 17Δ from freshwater systems. We investigated the 17Δ together with the oxygen : argon ratio [Δ(O2 ∕ Ar)] in the subtropical Feitsui Reservoir in Taiwan from June 2014 to July 2015. Here, we present the seasonal variations in 17Δ, GP (gross production), NP (net production) and the NP ∕ GP (net to gross ratio) in association with environmental parameters. The 17Δ varied with depth and season, with values ranging between 26 and 205 per meg. The GP rates were observed to be higher (702 ± 107 mg C m−2 d−1) in winter than those (303 ± 66 mg C m−2 d−1) recorded during the summer. The overall averaged GP was 220 g C m−2 yr−1 and NP was −3 g C m−2 yr−1, implying the reservoir was net heterotrophic on an annual basis. This is due to negative NP rates from October to February (−198 ± 78 mg C m−2 d−1). Comparisons between GP rates obtained from the isotope mass balance approach and 14C bottle incubation method (14C–GP) showed consistent values on the same order of magnitude with a GP ∕ 14C–GP ratio of 1.2 ± 1.1. Finally we noted that, although typhoon occurrences were scarce, higher than average 17Δ values and GP rates were recorded after typhoon events.

Short summary
Life on Earth is directly or indirectly linked to primary production (PP), the quantification of which poses a challenge. In our study we use the oxygen isotopes and oxygen–argon ratios technique to estimate PP in situ. To date this method has been used to assess PP in the ocean and we expand on its application to freshwater systems. Providing that the physical structure of the water column is constrained, this method presents a powerful tracer for atmospheric vs. photosynthetic oxygen input.
Final-revised paper