Journal of Paleolimnology

, Volume 60, Issue 3, pp 413–425 | Cite as

Mining pollution triggered a regime shift in the cladoceran community of Lake Kirkkojärvi, southern Finland

  • Jaakko Leppänen
  • Jan Weckström
  • Atte Korhola
Original paper


Mining is one of the key industries in the world and mine water pollution is a serious threat to aquatic ecosystems. Historical monitoring data on the pollution history and impacts in aquatic ecosystems, however, are rarely available, so paleolimnological methods are required to explore the consequences of past pollution. We studied the history of cladoceran community dynamics in Lake Kirkkojärvi, southern Finland, including the periods before, during and after mining. We analyzed the geochemical composition and cladoceran subfossil remains in a 210Pb-dated sediment core to evaluate the magnitude, rate, and direction of cladoceran community changes through time. The cladoceran community was altered significantly by mining activity that occurred during the mid-twentieth century. During more recent times, however, eutrophication effects have overridden the impacts of mining. After mining ceased, the cladoceran community underwent an abrupt regime shift towards taxa that reflect more eutrophic conditions. This change was caused by intensive farming activity and fertilizer use over the past few decades. The recent history of Lake Kirkkojärvi is a textbook example of a regime shift triggered by multiple human-caused stressors. Our findings also highlight the utility of cladocerans as bio-indicators in pollution research and illustrate the sensitivity of aquatic ecosystems to anthropogenic modification.


Minewater Mining Pollution Cladocera Paleolimnology Finland 



This work was funded partly by the Tellervo and Juuso Walden Foundation and the K.H. Renlund Foundation. The authors are grateful to the Schulte-Tigges family and to Mr. Hannu Uotila for their invaluable comments. The authors thank Annika Parviainen and Tommi Kauppila for additional data and two anonymous reviewers for their comments, which greatly improved this manuscript.

Supplementary material

10933_2018_30_MOESM1_ESM.pdf (322 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (PDF 322 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V., part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jaakko Leppänen
    • 1
  • Jan Weckström
    • 1
  • Atte Korhola
    • 1
  1. 1.Environmental Change Research Unit (ECRU), Ecosystems and Environment Research Programme, Faculty of Biological and Environmental Sciences, Helsinki Institute of Sustainability Science (HELSUS)University of HelsinkiHelsinkiFinland

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