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Water 2018, 10(9), 1233; https://doi.org/10.3390/w10091233

Stable Isotope Analysis Reveals the Importance of Riparian Resources as Carbon Subsidies for Fish Species in the Daning River, a Tributary of the Three Gorges Reservoir, China

1
College of Animal Science and Technology, Southwest University, Chongqing 400715, China
2
Yangtze River Fisheries Research Institute, Chinese Academy of Fishery Science, Wuhan 430223, China
*
Authors to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 7 August 2018 / Revised: 3 September 2018 / Accepted: 11 September 2018 / Published: 12 September 2018
(This article belongs to the Section Water–Food–Energy Nexus)
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Abstract

The patterns of carbon flow in large rivers influenced by dams are still not well known. We hypothesized that spatial variation in fish assimilation of basal production sources would be affected by heterogeneity of landscape-scale hydrology within a watershed due to the impoundment. We used stable isotope analysis and Bayesian mixing models to estimate relative contributions of basal production sources to fish consumers in a tributary of the Three Gorges Reservoir (TGR) with remarkably heterogeneous habitats between the upper and lower reaches. Model estimates indicated that riparian C3 plants were the main basal food source irrespective of reaches or feeding groups. Autochthonous algae carbon also appeared to be important as secondary carbon sources. However, the major contributive aquatic algae in the upstream were benthic algae while planktonic algae were important in the downstream, and this difference was related to their distinct hydrological characteristics. The contribution from C4 plants was comparatively less important to all fish consumers. Our results highlighted the significance of the riparian C3 carbon source to fish consumers in the TGR tributary and that the difference in landscape-scale characteristics was not enough to influence the pattern, which may be attributed to abundant standing stock of the riparian plants as well as hydrologic regimes in this river. View Full-Text
Keywords: river impoundment; basal carbon source; stable isotope; Three Gorges Reservoir river impoundment; basal carbon source; stable isotope; Three Gorges Reservoir
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Deng, H.; Li, Y.; Liu, M.; Duan, X.; Liu, S.; Chen, D. Stable Isotope Analysis Reveals the Importance of Riparian Resources as Carbon Subsidies for Fish Species in the Daning River, a Tributary of the Three Gorges Reservoir, China. Water 2018, 10, 1233.

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