What`s in the sediment

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What’s in the sediment?….Where does it come from?
By Kristen Schmidt
The majority of the world’s lakes are sources of CO2 to the atmosphere due to processes
occurring within lakes that release carbon. Simultaneously, carbon is stored in lake
sediments resulting in a process in which the lake acts as a sink for carbon. However, the
origin of the carbon in sediments is poorly know.
Previous studies have measured the fluorescence of samples trying to determine the
source of carbon in lakes. However, the methods used are quite labor intensive and time
consuming. The aim of this study was to develop a simplified method in which
fluorescence could be used to measure solid sample material directly. Fluorescence
measured on sample material from a known source outside of the lake and a know
sourced produce within the lake would provide reference information for two known
sources of carbon. Fluorescence then measured on sediment samples could be compared
to the reference samples to see if it is possible to determine the source of the carbon in the
sediment.
Data analysis revealed a correlation between fluorescence and carbon source therefore
providing the possibility to estimate the amount of carbon in a sediment sample coming
from a particular source.
Continued developments in this area could further provide insight into the role of the
source of carbon in the aquatic ecosystem and ultimately, the global carbon cycle.
Undergraduate Thesis in Biology, 10p, Spring 2004
Evolutionary Biology Center
Department of Limnology
Advisors: Eddie vonWachenfeldt and Lars Tranvik
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