Anthropogenic disturbance history influences the temporal coherence of paleoproductivity in two lakes

Abstract

We investigated how the history of local disturbances in a watershed can influence the regional coherence of ecosystem properties in lakes that have similar morphometry and climatic conditions. We measured sedimentary δ13C, δ15N, C:N and %BSiO2 in Sooke Lake Reservoir (SOL) and Shawnigan Lake (SHL), which are located within 4 km of each other on Vancouver Island, Canada. SOL is an impounded lake whose watershed has been fully protected over the last century, although the lake level has been raised 3 times via impoundment during this period. SHL has a similar limnological regime, but the surrounding watershed has been developed extensively for residential uses. We investigated how a pulse disturbance regime in SOL (i.e. repeated dam raising) and a press disturbance regime in SHL (i.e. persistent development) influenced the variability of paleoindicators in each system over time. We found that these contrasting disturbance regimes reduced the regional temporal coherence of aquatic productivity between the two lakes (indicated by %BSiO2), but did not influence the regional coherence of nutrient status or the main carbon sources of the lakes (indicated by %C, %N and δ13C). In contrast, an indicator of the sources and cycling of nitrogen (δ15N) showed increased coherence. Local disturbances also affected the variability of the paleoindicators within each system over time. In SOL, impoundments led to both declines (%N, δ15N) and increases (δ13C) in the variability of paleoindicators. In SHL, persistent watershed development led to lower variability of two paleoindicators (%N, %BSiO2). Overall, our data suggest that local disturbances can influence the %BSiO2 and C:N ratio of lake sediments, but are less likely to alter the regional coherence of %C, %N and δ13C between lakes.

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Acknowledgements

The authors acknowledge Simon Thomson and Shane Edmison for helping with sediment core collection, Sergei Verenitch, Shapna Mazumder and Jutta Kolhi for laboratory analysis, and Rick Espie and Christopher Lowe for editorial correction and two anonymous reviewers for their constructive comments that markedly improved the paper. This research was supported by an NSERC CGSD to Biplob Das, an NSERC CGSM to Anita Narwani, an NSERC IRC to Asit Mazumder, and by partnership support from CRD Water Services to Asit Mazumder.

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Correspondence to Biplob Das.

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Biplob Das and Anita Narwani contributed equally to this work.

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Das, B., Narwani, A., Matthews, B. et al. Anthropogenic disturbance history influences the temporal coherence of paleoproductivity in two lakes. J Paleolimnol 42, 167–181 (2009). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10933-008-9269-4

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Keywords

  • Coherence
  • Variability
  • Paleoproductivity
  • Stable isotope