13C dicarboxylic acid signatures indicate temporal shifts in catchment sediment sources in response to extreme winter rainfall

A - Papers appearing in refereed journals

Upadhayay, H. R., Joynes, A. and Collins, A. L. 2024. 13C dicarboxylic acid signatures indicate temporal shifts in catchment sediment sources in response to extreme winter rainfall. Environmental Chemistry Letters. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10311-023-01684-1

AuthorsUpadhayay, H. R., Joynes, A. and Collins, A. L.

Rainfall and land-use interactions drive temporal shifts in suspended sediment sources, yet the magnitude of such changes remains poorly understood due to the lack of land-use specific source tracers. We investigated α,ω-dicarboxylic fatty acid (diFA) root-specific biomarkers, as diagnostic tracers for apportioning sources of time-integrated suspended sediment samples collected from a grassland dominated agricultural catchment in the southwest of England during the wet winter period. Applying diFA-specific stable carbon isotope analysis and a Bayesian isotope mixing model, we show stream banks contributed most of the sediment in the early winter, i.e. October–December, (90% credible interval (CI) ranging from 44 to 79%), while winter cereal-dominated arable land contributed more than half (90% CI 35–85%) of the sediment during the late winter, i.e. January–March. The dominant sediment source shifted in conjunction with a period of prolonged consecutive rainfall days in the later period suggesting that intervention required to mitigate soil erosion and sediment delivery should adapt to changing rainfall patterns. Our novel findings demonstrate that diFA isotopic signatures are promising tracers for understanding the resistance of agricultural soils to water erosion and quantifying the interactive effects of extreme rainfall and land use on catchment sediment source dynamics.

KeywordsSediment fingerprinting; Land use; Suberin; Bayesian unmixing model
Year of Publication2024
JournalEnvironmental Chemistry Letters
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)https://doi.org/10.1007/s10311-023-01684-1
Open accessPublished as ‘gold’ (paid) open access
FunderBiotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council
Funder project or codeS2N - Soil to Nutrition - Work package 3 (WP3) - Sustainable intensification - optimisation at multiple scales
Resilient Farming Futures
Publisher's version
Copyright license
Accepted author manuscript
Supplemental file
Supplemental file
Output statusPublished
Publication dates
Online10 Jan 2024
Publication process dates
Accepted07 Dec 2023
PublisherSpringer Heidelberg

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