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Journal of Paleolimnology

, Volume 43, Issue 2, pp 293–308 | Cite as

Ecological distribution of scaled-chrysophyte assemblages from the sediments of 54 lakes in Nova Scotia and southern New Brunswick, Canada

  • Brian K. GinnEmail author
  • Michael Rate
  • Brian F. Cumming
  • John P. Smol
Original Paper

Abstract

Chrysophyte scales have been used in several paleolimnological studies to track long-term environmental change, however little data exist for the many lakes in the Maritime provinces of eastern Canada. As part of a multi-disciplinary investigation of acidification and other environmental stressors in the Maritimes, chrysophytes scales were identified and enumerated from the sediments of 52 lakes from Nova Scotia and two lakes from New Brunswick. A total of 25 chrysophyte taxa were identified from the surface sediments, reflecting the modern-day chrysophyte assemblages. The dominant species included Mallamonas duerrschmidtiae and Mallomonas acaroides. Taxa of the genus Synura were present in some lakes, but mainly in the more southern sites. In general, the floras were less diverse than those recorded from similar studies in other temperate regions. This may be related to the fact that the calibration lake set contained only a relatively short limnological gradient, and the assemblages reflect the acidic to circumneutral conditions of these lakes. Synura petersenii, a taxon that has been linked to imparting taste and odor problems to lakes, and had been shown to increase in the recent sediments of many other Canadian lakes, was only rarely present. In contrast to other studies, scaled chrysophytes were very rare in the pre-industrial sediments, with substantial nineteenth century populations only present in four relatively deep (>19 m) lakes. Detailed stratigraphic analyses of eight sediment cores revealed that scaled-chrysophyte assemblages increased dramatically during the latter part of the twentieth century. Limnological changes associated with climate (e.g. increased thermal stratification due to a 1.5°C temperature increase since ~1850) may have influenced chrysophyte distributions in these lakes.

Keywords

Paleolimnology Scaled chrysophytes Climatic change Nova Scotia New Brunswick Mallomonas Synura 

Notes

Acknowledgments

This study would not have been possible without the assistance of: Tom Clair, Environment Canada—Atlantic Region for providing water chemistry data for Nova Scotia; Parks Canada staff at Kejimkujik and Cape Breton Highlands National Parks of Canada; C. Chan, B. Keddy, and B. Keatley for field assistance. We thank K. Rühland and two anonymous reviewers for their helpful comments. This study was funded by an NSERC Strategic Grant to JPS, BFC, and Peter Dillon; Ontario Graduate Scholarship and R. S. McLaughlin Fellowship to BKG.

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • Brian K. Ginn
    • 1
    Email author
  • Michael Rate
    • 1
  • Brian F. Cumming
    • 1
  • John P. Smol
    • 1
  1. 1.Paleoecological Environmental Assessment and Research Laboratory (PEARL), Department of BiologyQueen’s UniversityKingstonCanada

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