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See detailDynamics of dissolved inorganic carbon and aquatic metabolism in the Tana River basin, Kenya
Tamooh, F.; Borges, Alberto ULg; Meysman, F. J. R. et al

in Biogeosciences (2013), 10(11), 6911-6928

A basin-wide study was conducted in the Tana River basin (Kenya) in February 2008 (dry season), September–November 2009 (wet season) and June– July 2010 (end of the wet season) to assess the dynamics and ... [more ▼]

A basin-wide study was conducted in the Tana River basin (Kenya) in February 2008 (dry season), September–November 2009 (wet season) and June– July 2010 (end of the wet season) to assess the dynamics and sources of dissolved inorganic carbon (DIC) as well as to quantify CO2 fluxes, community respiration (R), and primary production (P). Samples were collected along the altitudinal gradient (from 3600 to 8 m) in several headwater streams, reservoirs (Kamburu and Masinga), and the Tana River mainstream. DIC concentrations ranged from 0.2 to 4.8 mmol L−1, with exceptionally high values (3.5±1.6 mmol L−1) in Nyambene Hills tributaries. The wide range of 13CDIC values (−15.0 to −2.4 ‰) indicate variable sources of DIC, with headwater streams recording more positive signatures compared to the Tana River mainstream. With with only a few exceptions, the entire riverine network was supersaturated in CO2, implying the system is a net source of CO2 to the atmosphere. pCO2 values were generally higher in the lower Tana River mainstream compared to headwater tributaries, opposite to the pattern typically observed in other river networks. This was attributed to high suspended sediment in the Tana River mainstream fuelling in-stream community respiration and net heterotrophy. This was particularly evident during the 2009 wet season campaign (median pCO2 of 1432 ppm) compared to the 2010 end of the wet season (1002 ppm) and 2008 dry season(579 ppm). First-order estimates show that in-stream community respiration was responsible for the bulk of total CO2 evasion (77 to 114 %) in the Tana River mainstream, while in the tributaries, this could only account for 5 to 68% of total CO2 evasion. This suggests that CO2 evasion in the tributaries was to a substantial degree sustained by benthic mineralisation and/or lateral inputs of CO2-oversaturated groundwater. While sediment loads increased downstream and thus light availability decreased in the water column, both chlorophyll a (0.2 to 9.6 μg L−1) and primary production (0.004 to 7.38 μmol CL−1 h−1) increased consistently downstream. Diurnal fluctuations of biogeochemical processes were examined at three different sites along the river continuum (headwater, reservoir and mainstream), and were found to be substantial only in the headwater stream, moderate in the reservoir and not detectable in the Tana River mainstream. The pronounced diurnal fluctuations observed in the headwater stream were largely regulated by periphyton as deduced from the low chlorophyll a in the water column. [less ▲]

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See detailDynamics of dissolved inorganic carbon in the Tana River Basin, Kenya
Tamooh; Meysman, F; Van den Meersche, K et al

Conference (2012, July 08)

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See detailSeasonal dynamics of organic carbon in the Tana River Basin, Kenya
Tamooh, F.; Meysman, F.; Marwick, T.R. et al

Conference (2012, April 22)

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See detailDistribution and origin of suspended matter and organic carbon pools in the Tana River Basin, Kenya
Tamooh, F; Van den Meersche, K; Meysman, F et al

in Biogeosciences (2012), 9

We studied patterns in organic carbon pools and their origin in the Tana River Basin (Kenya), in February 2008 (dry season), September–November 2009 (wet season), and June–July 2010 (end of wet season ... [more ▼]

We studied patterns in organic carbon pools and their origin in the Tana River Basin (Kenya), in February 2008 (dry season), September–November 2009 (wet season), and June–July 2010 (end of wet season), covering the full continuum from headwater streams to lowland mainstream sites. A consistent downstream increase in total suspended matter (TSM, 0.6 to 7058 mg l−1) and particulate organic carbon (POC, 0.23 to 119.8 mg l−1) was observed during all three sampling campaigns, particularly pronounced below 1000m above sea level, indicating that most particulate matter exported towards the coastal zone originated from the mid and low altitude zones rather than from headwater regions. This indicates that the cascade of hydroelectrical reservoirs act as an extremely efficient particle trap. Although 7Be / 210Pbxs ratios/age of suspended sediment do not show clear seasonal variation, the gradual downstream increase of suspended matter during end of wet season suggests its origin is caused by inputs of older sediments from bank erosion and/or river sediment resuspension. During wet season, higher TSM concentrations correspond with relatively young suspended matter, suggesting a contribution from recently eroded material.With the exception of reservoir waters, POC was predominantly of terrestrial origin as indicated by generally high POC : chlorophyll a (POC : Chl a) ratios (up to 41 000). Stable isotope signatures of POC ( 13CPOC) ranged between −32 and −20‰and increased downstream, reflecting an increasing contribution of C4-derived carbon in combination with an expected shift in 13C for C3 vegetation towards the more semi-arid lowlands. 13C values in sediments from the main reservoir (−19.5 to −15.7 ‰) were higher than those found in any of the riverine samples, indicating selective retention of particles associated with C4 fraction. Dissolved organic carbon (DOC) concentrations were highest during the end of wet season (2.1 to 6.9 mg l−1), with stable isotope signatures generally between −28 and −22 ‰. A consistent downstream decrease in % organic carbon (%OC) was observed for soils, riverine sediments, and suspended matter. This was likely due to better preservation of the organic fraction in colder high altitude regions, with loss of carbon during downstream spiraling. 13C values for soil and sediment did not exhibit clear altitudinal patterns, but values reflect the full spectrum from C3-dominated to C4-dominated sites. Very low ratios of organic carbon to mineral surface area (OC : SA) were found in reservoir sediments and suspended matter in the lower Tana River, indicating that these are stable OC pools which have undergone extensive degradation. Overall, our study demonstrates that substantial differences occur in both the quantities and origin of suspended sediments and organic carbon along the river profile in this tropical river basin, as well as seasonal differences in the mechanisms causing such variations. [less ▲]

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See detailOrganic matter sources, fluxes and greenhouse gas exchange in the Oubangui River (Congo River basin)
Bouillon, S.; Yambélé, A.; Spencer, R.G.M. et al

in Biogeosciences (2012), 9

The Oubangui is a major tributary of the Congo River, draining an area of 500 000 km2 mainly consisting of wooded savannahs. Here, we report results of a one year long, 2-weekly sampling campaign in ... [more ▼]

The Oubangui is a major tributary of the Congo River, draining an area of 500 000 km2 mainly consisting of wooded savannahs. Here, we report results of a one year long, 2-weekly sampling campaign in Bangui (Central African Republic) since March 2010 for a suite of physicochemical and biogeochemical characteristics, including total suspended matter (TSM), bulk concentration and stable isotope composition of particulate organic carbon (POC and 13CPOC), particulate nitrogen (PN and 15NPN), dissolved organic carbon (DOC and 13CDOC), dissolved inorganic carbon (DIC and 13CDIC), dissolved greenhouse gases (CO2, CH4 and N2O), and dissolved ignin composition. 13C signatures of both POC and DOC showed strong seasonal variations −30.6 to −25.8 ‰, and −31.8 to −27.1 ‰, respectively), but their different timing indicates that the origins of POC and DOC may vary strongly over the hydrograph and are largely ncoupled, differing up to 6‰ in 13C signatures. Dissolved lignin characteristics (carbon- ormalised yields, cinnamyl:vanillyl phenol ratios, and vanillic acid to vanillin ratios) showed arked differences between high and low discharge conditions, consistent with major seasonal ariations in the sources of dissolved organic matter. We observed a strong seasonality in pCO2, ranging between 470 ± 203 ppm for Q<1000m3 s−1 (n = 10) to a maximum of 3750 pm during the first stage of the rising discharge. The low POC/PN ratios, high %POCand low and variable 13CPOC signatures during low flow conditions suggest that the majority of the POC pool during this period consists of in situ produced phytoplankton, consistent with oncurrent pCO2 (partial pressure of CO2) values only slightly above and, occasionally, below atmospheric equilibrium. Water-atmosphere CO2 fluxes estimated using two independent pproaches averaged 105 and 204 gCm−2 yr−1, i.e. more than an order of magnitude lower than current estimates for large tropical rivers globally. Although tropical rivers are often ssumed to show much higher CO2 effluxes compared to temperate systems, we show that in situ production may be high enough to dominate the particulate organic carbon pool, and lower CO2 values to near equilibrium values during low discharge conditions. The total annual flux of TSM, POC, PN, DOC and DIC are 2.33 Tg yr−1, 0.14 TgC yr−1, 0.014 TgNyr−1, 0.70 TgC yr−1, and 0.49 Tg Cyr−1, respectively. While our TSM and POC fluxes are similar to previous stimates for the Oubangui, DOC fluxes were 30% higher and bicarbonate fluxes were 35% ower than previous reports. DIC represented 58% of the total annual C flux, and under the ssumptions that carbonate weathering represents 25% of the DIC flux and that CO2 from espiration drives chemical weathering, this flux is equivalent to 50% of terrestrial-derived riverine C transport. [less ▲]

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See detailDistribution and composition of organic carbon in the Tana River Basin, (Kenya)
Tamooh, F.; van den Meersche, K.; Borges, Alberto ULg et al

Conference (2011, February 13)

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See detailIsotopic Composition and sources of Organic Carbon Pools within the Tana River Basin, (Kenya)
Tamooh, F.; Van Den Meersche, K.; Borges, Alberto ULg et al

Poster (2011)

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See detailInorganic carbon in the Tana River Basin (Kenya): Distribution, composition and process rates
Van den Meersche, K.; Tamooh, F.; Meysman, F. et al

Conference (2011)

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See detailDiversity-function relationship of ammonia-oxidizing bacteria in soils among functional groups of grassland species under climate warming
Malchair, Sandrine ULg; De Boeck, H. J.; Lemmens, CMHM et al

in Applied Soil Ecology (2010), 44

Although warming and plant diversity losses have important effects on aboveground ecosystem functioning, their belowground effects remain largely unknown. We studied the impact of a 3 °C warming and of ... [more ▼]

Although warming and plant diversity losses have important effects on aboveground ecosystem functioning, their belowground effects remain largely unknown. We studied the impact of a 3 °C warming and of three plant functional groups (forbs, grasses, legumes) on ammonia-oxidizing bacteria (AOB) diversity (polymerase chain reaction-denaturing gradient gel electrophoresis, PCR-DGGE) and their function (potential nitrification) in artificial grasslands. Warming did not influence AOB diversity and function. Sequencing of 16S rRNA gene fragments retrieved from DGGE gel revealed that they were all related to Nitrosospira-like sequences. Clustering analysis of DGGE profiles resulted in two nodes, separating AOB community structure under legumes from all other samples. Decreased AOB richness (number of DGGE bands) and concurrent increased potential nitrification were also observed under legumes. We hypothesized that ammonium availability was the driving force regulating the link between aboveground and belowground communities, as well as the AOB diversity and function link. The results document that the physiology of AOB might be an important regulator of AOB community structure and function under plant functional groups. This study highlights the major role of the microbial community composition in soil process responses to changes in the functional composition of plant communities. [less ▲]

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See detailDistribution, origin and cycling of carbon in the Tana River (Kenya): a dry season basin-scale survey from headwaters to the delta
Bouillon, S.; Abril, G.; Borges, Alberto ULg et al

in Biogeosciences (2009), 6

The Tana River basin (TRB) is the largest in Kenya (_120 000 km2). We conducted a survey during the dry season throughout the TRB, analyzing a broad suite of biogeochemical parameters. Biogeochemical ... [more ▼]

The Tana River basin (TRB) is the largest in Kenya (_120 000 km2). We conducted a survey during the dry season throughout the TRB, analyzing a broad suite of biogeochemical parameters. Biogeochemical signatures in headwater streams were highly variable. Along the middle and lower river course, total suspended matter (TSM) concentrations increased more than 30-fold despite the absence of tributary inputs, indicating important resuspension events of internally stored sediment. These resuspended sediment inputs were characterized by a lower and 14C-depleted OC content, suggesting selective degradation of more recent material during sediment retention. Masinga Dam (a large reservoir on the upper river) induced a strong nutrient retention (_50% for inorganic N, _72% for inorganic phosphate, and _40% for dissolved silicate). Moreover, while DOC pools and _13C signatures were similar above, in and below the reservoir, the POC pool in Masinga surface waters was dominated by 13C-depleted phytoplankton, which contributed to the riverine POC pool immediately below the dam, but rapidly disappeared further downstream, suggesting rapid remineralization of this labile C pool in the river system. Despite the generally high turbidity, the combination of relatively high oxygen saturation levels, low _18O signatures of dissolved O2 (all <+24.2‰), and the relatively low pCO2 values suggest that in-stream primary production was significant, even though pigment data suggest that phytoplankton makes only a minor contribution to the total POC pool in the Tana River. [less ▲]

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See detailBiomass production in experimental grasslands of different species richness during three years of climate warming
De Boeck, H. J.; Lemmens, CMHM; Zavalloni, C. et al

in Biogeosciences (2008), 5

Here we report on the single and combined impacts of climate warming and species richness on the biomass production in experimental grassland communities. Projections of a future warmer climate have ... [more ▼]

Here we report on the single and combined impacts of climate warming and species richness on the biomass production in experimental grassland communities. Projections of a future warmer climate have stimulated studies on the response of terrestrial ecosystems to this global change. Experiments have likewise addressed the importance of species numbers for ecosystem functioning. There is, however, little knowledge on the interplay between warming and species richness. During three years, we grew experimental plant communities containing one, three or nine grassland species in 12 sunlit, climate-controlled chambers in Wilrijk, Belgium. Half of these chambers were exposed to ambient air temperatures (unheated), while the other half were warmed by 3 degrees C (heated). Equal amounts of water were added to heated and unheated communities, so that warming would imply drier soils if evapotranspiration was higher. Biomass production was decreased due to warming, both aboveground (-29%) and belowground (-25%), as negative impacts of increased heat and drought stress in summer prevailed. Complementarity effects, likely mostly through both increased aboveground spatial complementarity and facilitative effects of legumes, led to higher shoot and root biomass in multi-species communities, regardless of the induced warming. Surprisingly, warming suppressed productivity the most in 9-species communities, which may be attributed to negative impacts of intense interspecific competition for resources under conditions of high abiotic stress. Our results suggest that warming and the associated soil drying could reduce primary production in many temperate grasslands, and that this will not necessarily be mitigated by efforts to maintain or increase species richness. [less ▲]

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See detailCombined effects of climate warming and plant diversity loss on above- and below-ground grassland productivity
De Boeck, H. J.; Lemmens, CMHM; Gielen, B. et al

in Environmental and Experimental Botany (2007), 60(1), 95-104

Projections of global change predict both increases of the surface temperature and decreases of biodiversity, but studies on the combined impact of both on terrestrial ecosystems are lacking. We assessed ... [more ▼]

Projections of global change predict both increases of the surface temperature and decreases of biodiversity, but studies on the combined impact of both on terrestrial ecosystems are lacking. We assessed the impact of these two global changes on above- and below-ground productivity of grassland communities. Experimental ecosystems containing one, three or nine grassland species were grown in 12 sunlit, climate-controlled chambers in Wilrijk, Belgium. Half of these chambers were exposed to ambient air temperatures, while the other half were warmed by 3 degrees C. Equal amounts of water were added to heated and unheated communities, so that any increases in evapotranspiration due to warmer conditions would result in a drier soil. Warming led to a decreased productivity of both above-ground plant parts (-18%) and roots (-23%), which coincided with a significantly lower soil water content. Complementarity in resource use and/or facilitation slightly enhanced above-ground productivity in multi-species communities, regardless of the induced warming. Interactive effects between temperature treatment and species richness level were found below-ground, however, where warming nullified the positive effect of richness on root productivity. Future warmer conditions could further increase losses of productivity associated with declining species numbers. (c) 2006 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved. [less ▲]

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See detailBiomass production in experimental grasslands of different species richness during three years of climate warming
de Boeck, H. J.; Lemmens, CMHM; Gielen, B. et al

in Biogeosciences Discussions (2007), 4

Here we report on the single and combined impacts of climate warming and species richness on the biomass production in experimental grassland communities. Projections of a future warmer climate have ... [more ▼]

Here we report on the single and combined impacts of climate warming and species richness on the biomass production in experimental grassland communities. Projections of a future warmer climate have stimulated studies on the response of terrestrial ecosystems to this global change. Experiments have likewise addressed the importance of species numbers for ecosystem functioning. There is, however, little knowledge on the interplay between warming and species richness. During three years, we grew experimental plant communities containing one, three or nine grassland species in 12 sunlit, climate-controlled chambers in Wilrijk, Belgium. Half of these chambers were exposed to ambient air temperatures (unheated), while the other half were warmed by 3 degrees C (heated). Equal amounts of water were added to heated and unheated communities, so that warming would imply drier soils if evapotranspiration was higher. Biomass production was decreased due to warming, both aboveground (-29%) and belowground (-25%), as negative impacts of increased heat and drought stress in summer prevailed. Complementarity effects, likely mostly through both increased aboveground spatial complementarity and facilitative effects of legumes, led to higher shoot and root biomass in multi-species communities, regardless of the induced warming. Surprisingly, warming suppressed productivity the most in 9-species communities, which may be attributed to negative impacts of intense interspecific competition for resources under conditions of high abiotic stress. Our results suggest that warming and the associated soil drying could reduce primary production in many temperate grasslands, and that this will not necessarily be mitigated by efforts to maintain or increase species richness. [less ▲]

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See detailHow do climate warming and plant species richness affect water use in experimental grasslands?
De Boeck, H. J.; Lemmens, CMHM; Bossuyt, H. et al

in Plant and Soil (2006), 288

Climate warming and plant species richness loss have been the subject of numerous experiments, but studies on their combined impact are lacking. Here we studied how both warming and species richness loss ... [more ▼]

Climate warming and plant species richness loss have been the subject of numerous experiments, but studies on their combined impact are lacking. Here we studied how both warming and species richness loss affect water use in grasslands, while identifying interactions between these global changes. Experimental ecosystems containing one, three or nine grassland species from three functional groups were grown in 12 sunlit, climate-controlled chambers (2.25 m(2) ground area) in Wilrijk, Belgium. Half of these chambers were exposed to ambient air temperatures (unheated), while the other half were warmed by 3 degrees C (heated). Equal amounts of water were added to heated and unheated communities, so that warming would imply drier soils if evapotranspiration (ET) was higher. After an initial ET increase in response to warming, stomatal regulation and lower above-ground productivity resulted in ET values comparable with those recorded in the unheated communities. As a result of the decreased biomass production, water use efficiency (WUE) was reduced by warming. Higher complementarity and the improved competitive success of water-efficient species in mixtures led to an increased WUE in multi-species communities as compared to monocultures, regardless of the induced warming. However, since the WUE of individual species was affected in different ways by higher temperatures, compositional changes in mixtures seem likely under climatic change due to shifts in competitiveness. In conclusion, while increased complementarity and selection of water-efficient species ensured more efficient water use in mixtures than monocultures, global warming will likely decrease this WUE, and this may be most pronounced in species-rich communities. [less ▲]

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See detailEnd-of-season effects of elevated temperature on ecophysiological processes of grassland species at different species richness levels
Lemmens, CMHM; De Boeck, H. J.; Gielen, B. et al

in Environmental and Experimental Botany (2006), 56

The combined effect of declining diversity and elevated temperature is a less-studied aspect of global change. We investigated the influence of those two factors and their possible interactions oil leaf ... [more ▼]

The combined effect of declining diversity and elevated temperature is a less-studied aspect of global change. We investigated the influence of those two factors and their possible interactions oil leaf ecophysiological processes in artificial grassland communities. Changes at the leaf level are at the basis of changes at the community level (and vice versa) but have remained largely unexplored in biodiversity experiments. We focused on end-of-season responses to assess whether species richness and air temperature affect the duration of the growing season. Grassland model ecosystems were used in 12 sunlit, climate-controlled chambers. Half of these chambers were exposed to ambient air temperatures, while the other half were Nvarnied 3 degrees C. Each chamber contained 24 plant communities, created with nine grassland species: three grass species. three nitrogen (N) fixers and three non-N-fixing dicots. Each plant community consisted of either one, three or nine species in order to create different species richness levels. Various ecophysiological variables (processes and characteristics) and above ground biomass were influenced by temperature. In several variables, the effects of temperature and species richness varied with species. No single-factor species richness effect was found due to opposite responses of the species canceling out the effect. We expect that these interactions may increase with time. (c) 2005 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved. [less ▲]

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