PROGRESS IN GEOGRAPHY ›› 2018, Vol. 37 ›› Issue (10): 1430-1441.doi: 10.18306/dlkxjz.2018.10.012

• Reviews • Previous Articles    

Progress and prospects of research on shells of Radix sp. in lakes on the Tibetan Plateau

Feng CHEN1,2(), Jinliang FENG3   

  1. 1. Department of Environmental Economics, Shanxi University of Finance and Economics, Taiyuan 030006, China
    2. Institute of Surface Processes and Ecological Environment, Shanxi University of Finance and Economics, Taiyuan 030006, China
    3. Institute of Tibetan Plateau Research, CAS, Beijing 100101, China
  • Received:2018-02-09 Revised:2018-05-05 Online:2018-10-28 Published:2018-10-28
  • Supported by:
    National Natural Science Foundation of China, No. 41701224


Palaeohydrology and palaeohydrochemical reconstruction have always been one of the most challenging issues in lake research, and one of the main reasons for this is the lack of suitable archives. Radix sp. fossil shells are widely distributed in lakes, alluvial-lacustrine successions, and high level lake sediments on the Tibetan Plateau. These biogenic carbonate shells are a kind of promising high-resolution carrier of the environmental information. For example, the δ13Cshell values of the Radix shells are controlled by the δ13C of lake water dissolved inorganic carbon; the δ18Oshell values provide useful information about the isotopic composition of the ambient waters; and the Sr/Ca ratio of the Radix shells is significantly positively correlated with both the Sr/Ca ratio and the conductivity of the lake water. Therefore, the δ13Cshell and δ18Oshell values and element of the Radix sp. shells have been gradually used to provide the palaeohydrological and palaeoclimatic information on the Tibetan Plateau and other regions in existing studies. In addition, the 87Sr/86Srshell of Radix sp. reflects significantly the 87Sr/86Sr of the water in which the shells were formed. However, there are still many scientific issues to be explored: it is unclear how the shells of Radix sp. record the hydrological, hydrochemical, and other information of its ambient water, and how we reconstruct palaeoenvironment information based on the fossil shells of Radix sp. As a new environmental information archive, Radix sp. and their following aspects in existing research on lakes of the Tibetan Plateau were reviewed in this study, including: the classification systems of Radix sp., habitat studies of Radix sp. and applications, proxies of Radix sp. shell (δ13Cshell, δ18Oshell, 87Sr/86Sr, Sr/Ca and Mg/Ca), and palaeohydrochemical reconstruction in lakes, in order to explore the prospects for future study on Radix sp. This review found that significant unanswered questions still remain. For example, the influence of lake water chemistry and water depth on the distribution and survival of Radix sp. is unclear; it is not clear whether inter-species differences have an impact on the results of lake sediment and palaeoenvironmental studies; species level classification of Radix sp., oxygen isotope balance, and trace element need further study; and more environmental records of Radix sp. shells are needed, among others.

Key words: plateau lakes, Radix sp., stable carbon and oxygen isotopes, strontium isotope, shell element ratio, palaeohydrochemical reconstruction