, Volume 44, Issue 3, pp 841-853,
Open Access This content is freely available online to anyone, anywhere at any time.
Date: 18 Jul 2010

Historical changes in the macrophyte community of a Norwegian softwater lake


Changes in macrophyte communities have occurred over the past decades in many oligotrophic softwater lakes with low carbon availability. Slow-growing isoetid species have been replaced by faster-growing elodeid species. Commonly, these changes are explained by anthropogenic nutrient enrichment or acidification of the lake water. Here we present a multi-proxy study in which we analysed plant macrofossils, pollen and spores, as well as sedimentological data from several cores taken from a SW Norwegian softwater lake. Our results indicate that the elodeid macrophyte Callitriche hamulata first appeared in this lake in the 1970s. Proliferation of C. hamulata occurred in the 1990s, replacing the hitherto dominant submerged Isoëtes macrophyte vegetation. Independent lines of evidence, such as diatom-inferred TP and pH reconstructions, showed no change during the past 200 years, therefore ruling out both acidification and phosphorus enrichment of the lake as possible causes for the observed change in the macrophyte community. Alternatively, expansion of Callitriche at the expense of Isoëtes may have been related to increased aquatic carbon availability, although nitrogen enrichment may also have been important.