The fate of C4 and C3 macrophyte carbon in central Amazon floodplain waters: Insights from a batch experiment

TitreThe fate of C4 and C3 macrophyte carbon in central Amazon floodplain waters: Insights from a batch experiment
Type de publicationJournal Article
Year of Publication2016
AuteursMortillaro, J-M, Passarelli, C, Abril, G, Hubas, C, Artigas, LFelipe, Benedetti, MF, Thiney, N, Moreira-Turcq, P, Pérez, MA, Vidal, L, Meziane, T
JournalLimnologica - Ecology and Management of Inland Waters
Mots-clésCentral amazon, Degradation, fatty acids, Floodplains, Macrophytes, Stables isotopes

The central Amazon floodplains are particularly productive ecosystems, where a large diversity of organic carbon sources are available for aquatic organisms. Despite the fact that C4 macrophytes generally produce larger biomasses than C3 macrophytes, food webs in the central Amazon floodplains appear dominantly based on a C3 carbon source.

In order to investigate the respective fate and degradation patterns of C4 and C3 aquatic plant-derived material in central Amazon floodplains, we developed a 23-days batch experiment. Fatty acid and carbon concentrations as well as stable isotope compositions were monitored over time in 60 L tanks. These tanks contained Amazon water, with different biomasses of C3 and C4 macrophyte, representative of in situ densities occurring in central Amazon floodplains.

In the C4Paspalum repens treatments, organic (POC, DOC) and inorganic carbon (DIC) got rapidly enriched in 13C, whereas in the C3Salvinia auriculata treatments, POC and DOC showed little change in concentration and isotopic composition, and DIC got depleted in 13C. The contribution of P. repens to POC and DOC was estimated to reach up to 94.2 and 70.7%, respectively. In contrast, no differences were reported between the C3S. auriculata and control treatments, an observation attributed to the lower C3 biomass encountered in the field, to a slower degradation rate of C3 compared to C4 compounds, and to similar isotopic compositions for river POC and DOC, and C3 compounds.

The 13C enrichments of POC, DOC, and DIC from P. repens treatments were attributed to an enhanced bacterially-mediated hydrolysis and mineralization of C4 material. Evolutions of bacterial abundance and branched fatty acid concentrations confirmed the role of heterotrophic microbial communities in the high P. repens decomposition rate. Our experiment highlights the predominant role of C4 aquatic plants, as a large source of almost entirely biodegradable organic matter available for heterotrophic activity and CO2 outgassing to the atmosphere.