Linking biogeochemical processes and historic primary producer communities in the SE USA sinkhole lake form the mid-Holocene to present.Faculty Publications
AbstractMany freshwater resources receive materials from human development causing a decrease in ecological services when compared to pre-disturbance periods. As a result, the understanding of eutrophication and limnological change has increased, but less attention has been given to systems under intense human impact that have not eutrophied so that drivers precluding eutrophication can be documented. The primary objective of this research was to reconstruct allochthonous inputs and in-lake processes for Long Pond, Georgia, USA from the mid Holocene to present and link them to primary producer community changes. Long Pond is a mesotrophic lake located in a highly altered watershed from agricultural and municipal land use and housing developments. A 5 m sediment core was collected from Long Pond, and organic matter, nutrients (C, N, P), metals (Al, Fe, Cu), and photosynthetic pigments were measured. Long Pond existed in three limnological states spanning the past ~6000 years. Prior to modern lacustrine conditions, Long Pond was a wetland/peat system that experienced the highest primary producer abundance recorded in the core. The modern lacustrine state began in the late Holocene and was characterized by increased connectivity with the surrounding watershed and low productivity. Human impacts began around 1900 AD and included high levels of phosphorus and metal deposition but moderate levels of primary producer abundance. As a result, in-lake dynamics are believed to be regulating the trophic status of Long Pond. Low concentrations of available phosphorus in the water column combined with high concentrations of sedimentary phosphorus may imply the binding of phosphorus to the sediments by certain materials such as aluminum and iron. Long Pond serves as an example of the complex in-lake processes that can occur from allochthonous inputs and autochthonous responses in lake systems thus complicating management decisions.
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Citation InformationEarley, S.M., Waters, M.N., Thieme, D., & Smoak, J.M. (2017). Linking biogeochemical processes and historic primary producer communities in the SE USA sinkhole lake form the mid-Holocene to present. Journal of Paleolimnology, 57(4), 295-306. doi:10.1007/s10933-017-9948-0.