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Investigating the impact of anthropogenic land use on a hemiboreal lake ecosystem using carbon/nitrogen ratios and coupled-optical emission spectroscopy

Stivrins, N., Liiv, M., Brown, A., Banerjea, R. Y., Heinsalu, A. and Veski, S. (2019) Investigating the impact of anthropogenic land use on a hemiboreal lake ecosystem using carbon/nitrogen ratios and coupled-optical emission spectroscopy. Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology, 518. pp. 1-9. ISSN 0031-0182

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To link to this item DOI: 10.1016/j.palaeo.2019.01.007

Abstract/Summary

Anthropogenic impacts on lake ecosystems have increased substantially towards the present. However, the strength and timing in most cases are not evaluated in detail, missing valuable information on the response and recovery of an aquatic system. In this study, we use the sediment total organic carbon/total nitrogen ratio (C/N) and inductively coupled-optical emission spectroscopy (ICP-OES) elements and the available information about the biological processes to explore anthropogenic land use impact on the lake ecosystem. As a case study we selected a hemiboreal lake Trikātas (Latvia, NE Europe). The Pearson correlation was used to statistically test the correlations of all variables. Our results show that the C/N ratio lowered immediately with the onset of crop cultivation at 500 BCE. Extensive forest clearance and an abrupt increase in land use are reflected through the associated chemical elements from ICP-OES and the increasing presence of herbivore dung spores since 1200 CE. These changes concur with the excess of fish remains suggesting a decrease in fish populations. Interestingly, anthropogenic land use driven erosion and accompanied calcium carbonate (CaCO3) matter influx favoured the abundance of Chara spp. in Lake Trikātas since 500 CE, which currently forms the protected specific habitat-type (H3140) of the European Union. At present, specific submerged macrophyte Chara habitat-type diminished almost entirely due to increased nutrient input, phytoplankton blooming, hypertrophic conditions and reduced light availability. The continued land use practices led to a switch in organic matter source in the lake from macrophytes to solely algal origin. The current study underlines the need of additional methods used to detect the sensitivity of lake ecosystem to external disturbances such as minor anthropogenic land use that might not necessarily be apparent in more traditional analyses such as palynology.

Item Type:Article
Refereed:Yes
Divisions:Faculty of Science > School of Archaeology, Geography and Environmental Science > Human Environments
Faculty of Science > School of Archaeology, Geography and Environmental Science > Scientific Archaeology
Faculty of Science > School of Archaeology, Geography and Environmental Science > Department of Archaeology
ID Code:81637
Publisher:Elsevier

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