Tracing diatom utilisation, and its fate, in Lake Baikal, Siberia: the application of silicon isotope geochemistry
Abstract:The global biogeochemical cycling of silicon (Si) is intrinsically linked to the fate of CO2 in the earth’s atmosphere. To date, most research has focused on the oceanic cycling of Si over glacial/interglacial timescales although, the importance of continental Si cycling (via abiotic and biotic processes) is now being addressed. Especially as the significant potential for Si sequestration in continental lake systems has been recently highlighted .
We present the first large-scale silicon isotope (δ30SiDSi) profiles of Lake Baikal’s water column, where a comparison between both pre- and post-diatom growing season δ30SiDSi signatures are made. Samples were collected along a water profile (surface to 180 m) at numerous sites across Lake Baikal, with deep-water endmembers at 400 m and c. 1,500 m. All isotopic analyses were conducted on a Neptune + Multi-Collector ICP-MS at NIGL, UK, using wet plasma mode with Mg doping of samples and standard-sample-standard bracketing. Analytical reproducibility is 0.12‰ (2σ) and blanks are <1% of signal intensity.
DSi concentrations of March water surface samples (South Basin only) range between c. 0.74 and 1.23 ppm while those collected in August are all <0.70 ppm, following seasonal biological utilisation. In turn Chlorophyll a values from South Basin profiles in August are greater (between c. 1.46 to 3.18 mg l-1) than March surface values (<0.70 mg l-1). Indeed, March δ30SiDSi surface values range between c. +2.16 and +2.45‰ while summer surface values range between c. +2.20 and +2.84‰, reflecting residual pool depletion after summer biological utilisation. δ30SiDSi values are >1‰ more enriched than dominant lake water inflows again reflecting diatom Si uptake. Annual open sediment traps deployed down Lake Baikal’s water column yield δ30Sidiatom signatures of +1.25‰, which suggests that down-column diatom dissolution is minimal. Applying the diatom fractionation factor of -1.1‰ and adopting a closed system model approach, these data are applied to mass balance diatom utilisation in Lake Baikal.
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