Why are we researching nutrient enrichment at Lake Baikal?
|Lake Baikal research expedition in March 2013 on the|
ice in the South basin
|Lake Baikal research expedition in August 2013 on a|
research vessel across the South, Central and North basins
To investigate changes in Lake Baikal’s primary productivity, we are analysing organic carbon (δ13Corganic) and silicon (δ30Si) isotopes at the BGS. Stable isotopes are different forms of an element, which have the same number of protons but differing number of neutrons. Carbon isotopes in lake sediments can be used to compare algal growth rates (i.e. productivity) under different nutrient dynamics while silicon isotopes tell us specifically about the cycling of silicon (a key nutrient) in the lake over time. As well as stable isotopes, algal pigments are also being analysed at the University of Nottingham. Algal pigments are produced by all photosynthetic organisms, and can be used as biomarkers to identify specific algal groups, such as diatoms, green algae and picoplankton. These varying nutrient enrichment proxies are being analysed on the sediment cores collected from across the South, Central and North basins of Lake Baikal in March 2013 and August 2013 and will be used to reconstruct past environmental conditions and anthropogenic impacts on the lake.
How do carbon isotopes infer past primary productivity?
|The machines used to produce 13C/12C and C/N data by the|
Stable Isotope Group led by Prof Melanie Leng at the BGS
What will the carbon isotope records at Lake Baikal show?