Journal of Paleolimnology

, Volume 57, Issue 4, pp 295–306 | Cite as

Linking biogeochemical processes and historic primary producer communities in a SE USA sinkhole lake from the mid-Holocene to present

  • Sean Michael Earley
  • Matthew Neal Waters
  • Donald Thieme
  • Joseph McDonald Smoak
Original paper


Many freshwater resources receive materials from human development causing a decrease in ecological services when compared to pre-disturbance periods. As a result, the understanding of eutrophication and limnological change has increased, but less attention has been given to systems under intense human impact that have not eutrophied so that drivers precluding eutrophication can be documented. The primary objective of this research was to reconstruct allochthonous inputs and in-lake processes for Long Pond, Georgia, USA from the mid Holocene to present and link them to primary producer community changes. Long Pond is a mesotrophic lake located in a highly altered watershed from agricultural and municipal land use and housing developments. A 5 m sediment core was collected from Long Pond, and organic matter, nutrients (C, N, P), metals (Al, Fe, Cu), and photosynthetic pigments were measured. Long Pond existed in three limnological states spanning the past ~6000 years. Prior to modern lacustrine conditions, Long Pond was a wetland/peat system that experienced the highest primary producer abundance recorded in the core. The modern lacustrine state began in the late Holocene and was characterized by increased connectivity with the surrounding watershed and low productivity. Human impacts began around 1900 AD and included high levels of phosphorus and metal deposition but moderate levels of primary producer abundance. As a result, in-lake dynamics are believed to be regulating the trophic status of Long Pond. Low concentrations of available phosphorus in the water column combined with high concentrations of sedimentary phosphorus may imply the binding of phosphorus to the sediments by certain materials such as aluminum and iron. Long Pond serves as an example of the complex in-lake processes that can occur from allochthonous inputs and autochthonous responses in lake systems thus complicating management decisions.


Eutrophication Biogeochemistry In-lake processes Pigments Organic matter Nutrients 



We would like to thank Mark Brenner and Jason Curtis for aiding in core collection. Josh Boston, Chase Patrick, and James Ragan provided laboratory support. Funding was provided by an internal faculty seed grant from VSU to MNW.

Supplementary material

10933_2017_9948_MOESM1_ESM.jpg (93 kb)
Supplementary material 1 Figure ESM1. Metals measured on the sediment core from Long Pond, GA, USA. Units are in parentheses. Lines separate the zones determined from k-means cluster analysis. (JPEG 93 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of BiologyValdosta State UniversityValdostaUSA
  2. 2.Department of Crop, Soil and Environmental SciencesAuburn UniversityAuburnUSA
  3. 3.Department of GeosciencesValdosta State UniversityValdostaUSA
  4. 4.Department of Environmental Science, Geography and PolicyUniversity of South Florida St. PetersburgSt. PetersburgUSA

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