Rapid atmospheric transport and large-scale deposition of recently synthesized plant waxes

Nelson, Daniel B. and Ladd, S. Nemiah and Schubert, Carsten J. and Kahmen, Ansgar. (2018) Rapid atmospheric transport and large-scale deposition of recently synthesized plant waxes. GEOCHIMICA ET COSMOCHIMICA ACTA, 222. pp. 599-617.

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Official URL: https://edoc.unibas.ch/65465/

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Sedimentary plant wax H-2/H-1 ratios are important tools for understanding hydroclimate and environmental changes, but large spatial and temporal uncertainties exist about transport mechanisms from ecosystem to sediments. To assess atmospheric pathways, we collected aerosol samples for two years at four locations within a similar to 60 km radius in northern Switzerland. We measured n-alkane distributions and H-2/H-1 ratios in these samples, and from local plants, leaf litter, and soil, as well as surface sediment from six nearby lakes. Increased concentrations and H-2 depletion of long odd chain n-alkanes in early summer aerosols indicate that most wax aerosol production occurred shortly after leaf unfolding, when plants synthesize waxes in large quantities. During autumn and winter, aerosols were characterized by degraded n-alkanes lacking chain length preferences diagnostic of recent biosynthesis, and H-2/H-1 values that were in some cases more than 100 parts per thousand higher than growing season values. Despite these seasonal shifts, modeled deposition-weighted average H-2/H-1 values of long odd chain n-alkanes primarily reflected summer values. This was corroborated by n-alkane H-2/H-1 values in lake sediments, which were similar to deposition-weighted aerosol values at five of six sites. Atmospheric deposition rates for plant n-alkanes on land were similar to 20% of accumulation rates in lakes, suggesting a role for direct deposition to lakes or coastal oceans near similar production sources, and likely a larger role for deposition on land and transport in river systems. This mechanism allows mobilization and transport of large quantities of recently produced waxes as fine-grained material to low energy sedimentation sites over short timescales, even in areas with limited topography. Widespread atmospheric transfer well before leaf senescence also highlights the importance of the isotopic composition of early season source water used to synthesize waxes for the geologic record. (C) 2017 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
Faculties and Departments:05 Faculty of Science > Departement Umweltwissenschaften > Integrative Biologie > Physiological Plant Ecology (Kahmen)
UniBasel Contributors:Kahmen, Ansgar and Nelson, Daniel
Item Type:Article, refereed
Article Subtype:Research Article
Note:Publication type according to Uni Basel Research Database: Journal article
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Last Modified:26 Apr 2020 21:21
Deposited On:26 Apr 2020 21:21

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