Journal of Paleolimnology

, Volume 51, Issue 3, pp 393–403 | Cite as

A sediment record of trophic state change in an Arkansas (USA) reservoir

  • Byron Winston
  • Sonja Hausmann
  • Jaime Escobar
  • William F. Kenney
Original paper

Abstract

Reservoir sediments are used cautiously in paleolimnological studies because of dating uncertainties, possible sediment disturbances and even concerns that indicators of trophic status may behave differently in reservoirs as opposed to natural lakes. We measured loss on ignition (LOI), carbon to nitrogen ratio (C:N), diatom abundance, total nitrogen (TN), total phosphorus (TP), TN:TP ratio, and carbon and nitrogen isotopes (δ13C and δ15N) in an 83-cm sediment core to track recent trophic status changes in Beaver Reservoir, Northwest Arkansas, USA. Measurements showed that LOI, TN, TP and diatom abundance increased significantly from the bottom to the top of the core (p < 0.001). The C:N ratio and δ13C indicated a predominantly algal source for organic matter in the sediments. Increases in TN and TP were positively correlated with human population growth (p < 0.01) and the TN:TP ratio recorded a shift from phosphorus to nitrogen limitation around 1990. This shift may have encouraged cyanobacterial growth that caused episodes of taste and odor problems in the reservoir. This study suggests that despite concerns about sediment dating and disturbance, reservoir sediments can provide valuable information on past water quality changes.

Keywords

Paleolimnology Reservoir Sediments Water quality Geochemistry 

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Byron Winston
    • 1
  • Sonja Hausmann
    • 2
  • Jaime Escobar
    • 3
    • 4
  • William F. Kenney
    • 5
  1. 1.Department of Crop, Soil and Environmental SciencesUniversity of ArkansasFayettevilleUSA
  2. 2.Academy of Natural Sciences of Drexel UniversityPhiladelphiaUSA
  3. 3.Departamento de Ingeniería Civil y AmbientalUniversidad del NorteBarranquillaColombia
  4. 4.Center for Tropical Paleoecology and ArchaeologySmithsonian Tropical Research Institute (STRI)Panama CityPanama
  5. 5.Land Use and Environmental Change InstituteUniversity of FloridaGainesvilleUSA

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