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Estimating pelagic primary production in lakes: Comparison of 14C incubation and free-water O2 approaches

December 4, 2021

Historically, estimates of pelagic primary production in lake ecosystems were made by measuring the uptake of carbon-14 (14C)-labeled inorganic carbon in samples incubated under laboratory or in situ conditions. However, incubation approaches are increasingly being replaced by methods that analyze diel changes in high-frequency in situ data such as free-water dissolved oxygen (O2). While there is a rich literature on the comparison of approaches for estimating primary production using incubations (e.g., 14C and O2 bottle experiments), as well for approaches using high-frequency data (e.g., diel O2 and CO2 metabolism models), there are few direct comparisons of 14C incubations and free-water O2 approaches for estimating primary production. We used 20 lake-years of concurrent measurements of primary production quantified from high-frequency free-water O2 data and 14C incubations in four different lakes (4–7 years per lake) to compare these different approaches. Across all lakes, 61% of the 14C production estimates were within the 95% credible intervals of the free-water O2 production estimates. Error-in-variable regressions support the assumption that 14C methods estimate a production value between gross primary production and net primary production and the bottle effect is constant across the entire range of production values considered here. There was little evidence that daily pelagic, epilimnetic estimates of primary production differed substantially based on the selection of free-water O2 or 14C approaches in these lakes during summer stratified conditions.

Publication Year 2022
Title Estimating pelagic primary production in lakes: Comparison of 14C incubation and free-water O2 approaches
DOI 10.1002/lom3.10471
Authors Noah R. Lottig, Joseph Phillips, Ryan D. Batt, Facundo Scordo, Tanner J. Williamson, Stephen R. Carpenter, Sudeep Chandra, Paul C. Hanson, Christopher T. Solomon, Michael J. Vanni, Jacob Aaron Zwart
Publication Type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Series Title Limnology and Oceanography: Methods
Index ID 70247510
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse
USGS Organization WMA - Integrated Information Dissemination Division