, Volume 584, Issue 1, pp 121–132 | Cite as

Combining limnological and palaeolimnological approaches in assessing degradation of Lake Pskov

  • Mihkel Kangur
  • Külli Kangur
  • Reet Laugaste
  • Jaan-Mati Punning
  • Tõnu Möls
Shallow Lakes


Limnological monitoring data and palaeorecords from large shallow Lake Pskov were used to study the long-term dynamic pattern of the lake ecosystem and to identify the start of its degradation. Lake Pskov is the southern part of Lake Peipsi s.l., the largest transboundary lake in Europe. The limnological monitoring data collected in the years 1956–2005 show that the water quality of L. Pskov has deteriorated and caused adverse changes in the whole ecosystem (e.g. excessive growth of algae, increased cyanobacterial blooms, silting of the lake bottom, fish kills). Doubled total phosphorus (Ptot), dissolved inorganic P (PO4-P) and chlorophyll a (Chl-a) contents, increased total alkalinity (HCO 3 - ) and pH, as well as decline in water transparency and oxygenation conditions, indicate a clear increase in the trophic level of the lake. However, the limnological studies do not show when the degradation started. To understand long-term dynamics of the lake ecosystem, a 52 cm sediment core taken from one monitoring station of L. Pskov was studied and dated by the 210Pb method. Palaeodata show that substantial changes in the L. Pskov ecosystem started already in the 1930s when mesotrophic conditions in the lake turned increasingly eutrophic. Since that time, the content of P, nitrogen (N), carbon (C) and relative abundance (RA%) of planktonic diatoms in the sediment have increased significantly (P < 0.005–0.030). Comparison of water variables with the sediment variables in five to eight time points, coinciding in palaeorecords and monitoring data, reveals several significant correlations. Strong and highly significant Spearman correlations (r > 0.9 or r < −0.9, P < 0.001) were observed between the contents of P, N, C and sulphur (S) in the sediment and the mean water level (WL) and temperature (WT) registered one to five years earlier in the lake. The C content of the sediment showed a negative relationship with WL and a positive correlation with WT. A significant positive relationship was recorded also between WT, and N and P content in the sediment. It is hypothesized that a higher WT and lower WL result in an increased organic mater accumulation in the sediment in the coming years.


Large shallow lake Eutrophication Time-series data Palaeorecords Diatoms 



The authors are indebted to the Estonian Science Foundation (grants 6855, 6820 and 6008) for financial support. This research was supported by the Estonian target financed projects SF 0362483s03 and SF SF0282120s02. We are grateful to the reviewers for their constructive comments.

Supplementary material

10750_2007_3231_Appendix 1.doc (44 kb)
ESM1 (DOC 44 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  • Mihkel Kangur
    • 1
  • Külli Kangur
    • 2
  • Reet Laugaste
    • 2
  • Jaan-Mati Punning
    • 1
  • Tõnu Möls
    • 2
  1. 1.Institute of Ecology at Tallinn UniversityTallinnEstonia
  2. 2.Centre for Limnology, Institute of Agricultural and Environmental SciencesEstonian University of Life SciencesRannuEstonia

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