Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Nature's chemical diversity reflected in Swedish lakes

02.05.2014

It's not only the biology of lakes that varies with the climate and other environmental factors, it's also their chemistry. More knowledge about this is needed to understand the ecology of lakes and their role in the carbon cycle and the climate. Today an international research group led by Uppsala University is publishing a comprehensive study of the composition of organic compounds in the prestigious journal Nature Communications.

- Lake water is like a very thin broth with several thousand ingredients in the recipe, all with different properties. At the same time many of the molecules are common in a broad spectrum of different environments. For instance, in the extremely complex chemical mixture we have found the same components as colleagues have described from the Congo. And they react to environmental factors in the same way in the tropics as in Sweden, says Lars Tranvik, who directed the study.

All of the world's lakes cover only three per cent of the surface area of the continents, but they nevertheless play a huge role in the carbon cycle of the planet. Among other things, there is an outflow of carbon dioxide to the atmosphere. This is largely due to the fact that these lakes take in tremendous amounts of organic materials from the surrounding land, and these are also converted in the water with the help of microorganisms.

Most of this organic matter is found in dissolved form in the water and consists of thousands of different molecules. The present study is the most comprehensive investigation ever of how the composition of these organic compounds is formed by processes in lakes and their catchments in the surrounding landscape. The researchers have analysed the make-up of the dissolved organic matter in 120 lakes from north to south in Sweden, as well as how its composition varies with the climate and other factors.

The study is a collaborative project involving a group of scientists from the Limnology program at Uppsala University and the Max Planck Institute for Marine Microbiology in Bremen/ University of Oldenburg. It is based on, among other things, data from a national environmental survey which monitors water chemistry and other properties of lakes. In addition, the researchers have performed detailed analyses of the organic material with the help of a powerful instrument in Germany – a high-resolution mass spectrometer.

The results show that not only biological diversity but also chemical diversity is regulated by various environmental factors. For example, in lakes with long water retention times, that is, where the water remains in place for a long period before being transported downstream, molecules from surrounding forests and wetlands are largely broken down.

- This leads to a completely different chemical composition, where the content of compounds that are produced by plankton in the lakes is more dominant, says Anne Kellerman, a doctoral candidate who is the lead author of the article.

By comparing lakes in different climates, we can get a picture of what chemical composition the water will have in a future climate with higher temperatures and more precipitation. This has consequences for how we should locate and design plants for drinking water production in the future.

- We're now continuing our investigations of the chemical diversity of nature by trying to figure out what mechanisms underlie the patterns we're finding. What determines that organic material in some cases is preserved in nature for a long time, and why is it degraded quickly under different circumstances? wonders Lars Tranvik.

This research is being conducted in a strong research environment funded by the Swedish Research Council Formas, "Color of Water", which is analysing current and future changes in the organic matter in lakes, and how this affects both drinking-water production and the ecology of the lakes.

###

Reference: Kellerman, A.M., Dittmar, T., Kothawala, D.N., and Tranvik. L. J Chemodiversity of dissolved organic matter in lakes driven by climate and hydrology. Nature Communications xxxxx
DOI: 10.1038/ncomms4804

Contact:

Lars Tranvik, professor, Limnology, department of Ecology and Genetics, mobile: 070 225830. lars.tranvik@ebc.uu.se

Anne Kellerman, PhD student, Limnology, department of Ecology and Genetics, mobile: 072 2168380. anne.kellerman@ebc.uu.se

Dolly Kothawala, researcher, Limnology, department of Ecology and Genetics, mobile: 073 5247371. dolly.kothawala@ebc.uu.se

Lars Tranvik | Eurek Alert!
Further information:
http://www.uu.se

Further reports about: Ecology Genetics Limnology composition diversity materials

More articles from Ecology, The Environment and Conservation:

nachricht New mathematical model can help save endangered species
14.01.2019 | University of Southern Denmark

nachricht Foxes in the city: citizen science helps researchers to study urban wildlife
14.12.2018 | Veterinärmedizinische Universität Wien

All articles from Ecology, The Environment and Conservation >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Flying Optical Cats for Quantum Communication

Dead and alive at the same time? Researchers at the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics have implemented Erwin Schrödinger’s paradoxical gedanken experiment employing an entangled atom-light state.

In 1935 Erwin Schrödinger formulated a thought experiment designed to capture the paradoxical nature of quantum physics. The crucial element of this gedanken...

Im Focus: Nanocellulose for novel implants: Ears from the 3D-printer

Cellulose obtained from wood has amazing material properties. Empa researchers are now equipping the biodegradable material with additional functionalities to produce implants for cartilage diseases using 3D printing.

It all starts with an ear. Empa researcher Michael Hausmann removes the object shaped like a human ear from the 3D printer and explains:

Im Focus: Elucidating the Atomic Mechanism of Superlubricity

The phenomenon of so-called superlubricity is known, but so far the explanation at the atomic level has been missing: for example, how does extremely low friction occur in bearings? Researchers from the Fraunhofer Institutes IWM and IWS jointly deciphered a universal mechanism of superlubricity for certain diamond-like carbon layers in combination with organic lubricants. Based on this knowledge, it is now possible to formulate design rules for supra lubricating layer-lubricant combinations. The results are presented in an article in Nature Communications, volume 10.

One of the most important prerequisites for sustainable and environmentally friendly mobility is minimizing friction. Research and industry have been dedicated...

Im Focus: Mission completed – EU partners successfully test new technologies for space robots in Morocco

Just in time for Christmas, a Mars-analogue mission in Morocco, coordinated by the Robotics Innovation Center of the German Research Center for Artificial Intelligence (DFKI) as part of the SRC project FACILITATORS, has been successfully completed. SRC, the Strategic Research Cluster on Space Robotics Technologies, is a program of the European Union to support research and development in space technologies. From mid-November to mid-December 2018, a team of more than 30 scientists from 11 countries tested technologies for future exploration of Mars and Moon in the desert of the Maghreb state.

Close to the border with Algeria, the Erfoud region in Morocco – known to tourists for its impressive sand dunes – offered ideal conditions for the four-week...

Im Focus: Programming light on a chip

Research opens doors in photonic quantum information processing, optical signal processing and microwave photonics

Researchers from the Harvard John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences (SEAS) have developed a new integrated photonics platform that can...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

Our digital society in 2040

16.01.2019 | Event News

11th International Symposium: “Advanced Battery Power – Kraftwerk Batterie” Aachen, 3-4 April 2019

14.01.2019 | Event News

ICTM Conference 2019: Digitization emerges as an engineering trend for turbomachinery construction

12.12.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

Velcro for human cells

16.01.2019 | Life Sciences

Kiel physicists discover new effect in the interaction of plasmas with solids

16.01.2019 | Physics and Astronomy

The pace at which the world’s permafrost soils are warming

16.01.2019 | Earth Sciences

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>