A palaeolimnological meta-database for assessing the ecological status of lakes
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- Battarbee, R.W., Morley, D., Bennion, H. et al. J Paleolimnol (2011) 45: 405. doi:10.1007/s10933-010-9417-5
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We describe a palaeolimnological meta-database (“LakeCores”) that includes information for lakes in Europe that have been cored for studies of recent environmental change. Only cores with intact mud-water interfaces and good chronologies for the last ~100–200 years are currently included. The information provided in the database includes the general characteristics of the lakes cored, the methods used for dating and analysis and the bibliographic source of the information selected. At present the database contains information on 1847 studies from 975 sites. Here we use the database to identify cores for which diatom-based pH and total phosphorus (TP) reconstructions have been derived and, from an inspection of the relevant papers, we compile summary data for the timing and extent of acidification and eutrophication of lakes across Europe. We show that there were few cases of acidification and eutrophication in Europe prior to about 1850, and therefore that conditions prior to 1850 can be used for reference with respect to current attempts to restore surface waters to “good ecological status”. We also show the extent to which pH and TP levels have changed across the continent both for all lakes, and, in the case of TP, for lakes of different types covering a range of alkalinities, altitudes, water depths and surface areas.