, Volume 29, Issue 4, pp 495-507

Cladoceran stratigraphy in two shallow brackish lakes with special reference to changes in salinity, macrophyte abundance and fish predation

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Abstract

Sub-fossils of Cladocera and Foraminifera were used to reconstruct changes since 1870 in the trophic dynamics of two brackish lakes, Glombak and Han Vejle, located in the Vejlerne nature reserve, Denmark, a site of international conservation importance. After creation of the lakes in the mid-1870s following land reclamation, the two lakes have developed quite differently; today Glombak is turbid, while Han Vejle is clear. In both lakes, stratigraphic changes in the assemblages of foraminifers and cladocerans indicate an abrupt shift from marine to brackish conditions at the end of the 19th century, coinciding with land reclamation. However, the composition of the fossil invertebrate assemblages in the 20th century implies differences in the exposure to salinity, in fish predation and in habitat diversity. In Glombak, the cladoceran record suggests relatively saline conditions in the first quarter of the last century and high macrophyte abundance followed by lower salinities and subsequently a major decrease in macrophyte abundance and an increase in fish predation during the past ca. 40 years. By contrast, in Han Vejle low salinity, high abundance of macrophytes and only minor changes in fish predation seem to have prevailed throughout most of the 20th century. The results are consistent with recent contemporary data, the few historical records, as well as with trends in the records of diatoms and macrofossils. This study highlights the potential of using crustacean remains as indicators of long-term changes in the trophic dynamics of brackish lakes.