Journal of Paleolimnology

, Volume 44, Issue 1, pp 15–24 | Cite as

A geochemical record of recent anthropogenic nutrient loading and enhanced productivity in Lake Nansihu, China

  • Enfeng Liu
  • Ji Shen
  • Enlou Zhang
  • Yanhong Wu
  • Liyuan Yang
Original Paper


Total organic carbon (TOC), total nitrogen (TN), stable carbon and nitrogen isotopes (δ13C, δ15N), total phosphorus (TP) and organic phosphorus (OP) were measured in surface sediments and two short cores (DU-3 and WS-4) from Lake Nansihu, China to infer historical changes in anthropogenic nutrient inputs and corresponding shifts in lake primary productivity. Results indicate that organic matter preserved in the sediments is mainly autochthonous and that analyzed sediment variables were affected little by post-burial diagenesis. Increasing TOC, TN, OP and TP concentrations since the 1940s reflect increased P loading and elevated lake productivity. The δ13C values varied from −21.5 to −26.6‰ in the two sediment cores. Values were relatively more negative before the 1940s, but thereafter increased until the mid-1980s, reflecting elevated lake productivity. Since the mid-1980s, δ13C values remained relatively constant in core WS-4 and decreased in core DU-3, perhaps reflecting a change in the phytoplankton community. The δ15N values ranged from −0.5 to 1.3‰ in core DU-3 and from 1.2 to 2.5‰ in core WS-4 before the mid-1980s, and increased to between 2.1 and 8.0‰ and 5.2 and 7.8‰, respectively, thereafter. Topmost sediments in the two cores display δ15N values similar to those recorded in the surface sediments (5.5–7.5‰). Higher δ15N values in recent deposits correspond to greater nitrogen concentration in water, and likely indicate anthropogenic nitrogen input, mainly from human and animal wastes.


Sediment TOC and TN δ13C and δ15Phosphorus Productivity Anthropogenic nutrient inputs Lake Nansihu 



We thank Dr. Mark Brenner from LUECI, University of Florida, for his help in improving the English. We thank the anonymous reviewers for their constructive comments and suggestions. This work was supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (No. 40702058; 40625007; 40672076), and the Natural Science Foundation of Jiangsu Province (No. BK2008055). The authors thank the Jining Bureau of Water Resource for providing water quality monitoring data.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • Enfeng Liu
    • 1
  • Ji Shen
    • 1
  • Enlou Zhang
    • 1
  • Yanhong Wu
    • 1
  • Liyuan Yang
    • 2
  1. 1.State Key Laboratory of Lake Science and Environment, Nanjing Institute of Geography and LimnologyChinese Academy of SciencesNanjingChina
  2. 2.School of City DevelopmentUniversity of JinanJinanChina

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