Taxon-specific δ13C analysis of chitinous invertebrate remains in sediments from Strandsjön, Sweden

van Hardenbroek, Maarten Reinier; Lotter, André F.; Bastviken, David; Andersen, Thorbjørn Joest; Heiri, Oliver (2014). Taxon-specific δ13C analysis of chitinous invertebrate remains in sediments from Strandsjön, Sweden. Journal of Paleolimnology, 52(1-2), pp. 95-105. Kluwer Academic 10.1007/s10933-014-9780-8

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Taxon-specific stable carbon isotope (δ13C) analysis of chitinous remains of invertebrates can provide valuable information about the carbon sources used by invertebrates living in specific habitats of lake ecosystems (for example, sediments, water column, or aquatic vegetation). This is complementary to δ13C of sedimentary organic matter (SOM), which provides an integrated signal of organic matter produced in a lake and its catchment, and of diagenetic processes within sediments. In a sediment record from Strandsjön (Sweden) covering the past circa 140 years, we analyzed SOM geochemistry (δ13C, C:Natomic, organic carbon content) and δ13C of chitinous invertebrate remains in order to examine whether taxon-specific δ13C records could be developed for different invertebrate groups and whether these analyses provide insights into past changes of organic carbon sources for lacustrine invertebrates available in benthic and planktonic compartments of the lake. Invertebrate taxa included benthic chironomids (Chironomus, Chironomini excluding Chironomus, Tanytarsini, and Tanypodinae), filter-feeders on suspended particulate organic matter (Daphnia, Plumatella and Cristatella mucedo), and Rhabdocoela. δ13C of chironomid remains indicated periodic availability of 13C-depleted carbon sources in the benthic environment of the lake as δ13C values of the different chironomid taxa fluctuated simultaneously between -34.7 and -30.5‰ (VPDB). Daphnia and Bryozoa showed parallel changes in their δ13C values which did not coincide with variations in δ13C of chironomids, though, and a 2-3‰ decrease since circa AD 1960. The decrease in δ13C of Daphnia and Bryozoa could indicate a decrease in phytoplankton δ13C as a result of lower lake productivity, which is in accordance with historical information about the lake that suggests a shift to less eutrophic conditions after AD 1960. In contrast, Rhabdocoela cocoons were characterized by relatively high δ13C values (-30.4 to -28.2‰) that did not show a strong temporal trend, which could be related to the predatory feeding mode and wide prey spectrum of this organism group. The taxon-specific δ13C analyses of invertebrate remains indicated that different carbon sources were available for the benthic chironomid larvae than for the filter-feeding Daphnia and bryozoans. Our results therefore demonstrate that taxon-specific analysis of δ13C of organic invertebrate remains can provide complementary information to measurements on bulk SOM and that δ13C of invertebrate remains may allow the reconstruction of past changes in carbon sources and their δ13C in different habitats of lake ecosystems.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)


10 Strategic Research Centers > Oeschger Centre for Climate Change Research (OCCR)
08 Faculty of Science > Department of Biology > Institute of Plant Sciences (IPS) > Palaeoecology
08 Faculty of Science > Department of Biology > Institute of Plant Sciences (IPS)

UniBE Contributor:

van Hardenbroek, Maarten Reinier; Lotter, André F. and Heiri, Oliver


500 Science
500 Science > 550 Earth sciences & geology
500 Science > 570 Life sciences; biology
500 Science > 590 Animals (Zoology)




Kluwer Academic


[18] European Research Council
[19] Darwin Centre for Biogeosciences
[20] Swedish Research Council




Maarten Reinier van Hardenbroek

Date Deposited:

06 Jun 2014 11:48

Last Modified:

09 Sep 2017 18:41

Publisher DOI:





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