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Algal community responses to shallow lake dystrophication

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This research details changes in lake algal community structure that occurred during dystrophication. We conducted a paleolimnological investigation of Pungo Lake, a shallow, dystrophic system near the coast of North Carolina, USA. Multiple chemical and biological proxies were measured on a sediment core, including sedimentary photosynthetic pigments, lignin-phenols, nutrients, and δ13C. Data analysis identified three zones of algal community structure corresponding to three regimes of organic matter inputs. Predystrophic conditions represented a period of low organic inputs but substantial algal abundance (diatoms and other algal types). The period of dystrophication preceded European settlement (1850) and showed an increase in organic matter deposition, lignin, and a change in lignin type. Lignin-phenols and δ13C signatures of organic matter indicated that terrestrial organic matter inputs increased during this period, possibly as a result of wetland expansion. Dystrophication also corresponded to an increase in algal groups that favor low light environments (cyanobacteria and cryptophytes).

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: 1: Institute of Marine Sciences, Department of Marine Sciences, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Morehead City, NC 28557, USA. 2: Department of Environmental Science, Policy and Geography, University of South Florida, Saint Petersburg, FL 33701, USA. 3: Department of Oceanography, Texas A&M University, College Station, TX 77843-3146, USA.

Publication date: 2012-08-01

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  • Published continuously since 1901 (under various titles), this monthly journal is the primary publishing vehicle for the multidisciplinary field of aquatic sciences. It publishes perspectives (syntheses, critiques, and re-evaluations), discussions (comments and replies), articles, and rapid communications, relating to current research on cells, organisms, populations, ecosystems, or processes that affect aquatic systems. The journal seeks to amplify, modify, question, or redirect accumulated knowledge in the field of fisheries and aquatic science. Occasional supplements are dedicated to single topics or to proceedings of international symposia.
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