Journal of Paleolimnology

, Volume 58, Issue 1, pp 57–72 | Cite as

Hyperspectral imaging of sedimentary bacterial pigments: a 1700-year history of meromixis from varved Lake Jaczno, northeast Poland

  • Christoph Butz
  • Martin Grosjean
  • Tomasz Goslar
  • Wojciech Tylmann
Original paper


Hypoxia in freshwater systems is currently spreading globally and putting water quality, biodiversity and other ecosystem services at risk. Such adverse effects are of particular concern in permanently stratified meromictic lakes. Yet little is known about when and how meromixis and hypoxia became established (or vanished) prior to anthropogenic impacts, or how human activities such as deforestation, erosion and nutrient cycling affected the mixing regimes of lakes. We used calibrated hyperspectral imaging (HSI) data in the visible and near infrared range from a fresh, varved sediment core taken in Lake Jaczno, NE Poland, to map sedimentary pigments at very high resolution (sub-varve scale) over the past 1700 years. HSI-inferred bacteriopheophytin a (bphe a, produced by anoxygenic phototrophic bacteria) serves as a proxy for meromixis, whereas HSI-inferred green pigments (chlorophyll a and diagenetic products) can be used as estimators of aquatic productivity. Meromixis was established and vanished long before significant human disturbance in the catchment was observed in the late eleventh century AD. Under pre-anthropogenic conditions, however, meromixis was interrupted frequently, and the lake mixing regime flickered between dimixis and meromixis. During two periods with intense deforestation and soil erosion in the catchment, characterised by sedimentary facies rich in clay and charcoal (AD 1070–1255 and AD 1670–1710), the lake was mostly dimictic and better oxygenated than in periods with relative stability and a presumably closed forest around the lake, i.e. without human disturbances. After ca. AD 1960, meromixis became established quasi-permanently as a result of eutrophication. The persistent meromixis of the last ~60 years is unusual with respect to the record of the last 1700 years.


Bacteriopheophytin a Chlorophyll a Holocene Anthropocene 14C AMS gas ion source 



This research was funded by the Swiss Contribution to the enlarged European Union CLIMPOL Project (PSRP-086/2010) and Swiss National Science Foundation Grant 200020-134945/1. Sönke Szidat performed the 14C gas ion source measurements at the LARA AMS Laboratory, University of Bern. CB performed all HSI analyses. CB, WT, Alicja Bonk, Małgorzata Kinder counted the varves. CB and MG designed the study and wrote the paper. All authors discussed and commented on the manuscript. We thank the following people for their help and contribution to this paper: Anna Poraj-Górska, Alicja Bonk, Małgorzata Kinder, Janusz Filipiak, Daniela Fischer, Tobias Schneider and Pascal Küpfer. We also thank both reviewers and the Editor for their thoughtful suggestions and careful editorial work.

Supplementary material

10933_2017_9955_MOESM1_ESM.docx (5.3 mb)
Supplementary material 1 (DOCX 5444 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Christoph Butz
    • 1
  • Martin Grosjean
    • 1
  • Tomasz Goslar
    • 2
    • 3
  • Wojciech Tylmann
    • 4
  1. 1.Institute of Geography and Oeschger Centre for Climate Change ResearchUniversity of BernBernSwitzerland
  2. 2.Faculty of PhysicsAdam Mickiewicz UniversityPoznanPoland
  3. 3.Poznan Radiocarbon LaboratoryFoundation of the A. Mickiewicz UniversityPoznanPoland
  4. 4.Faculty of Oceanography and GeographyUniversity of GdanskGdańskPoland

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