Journal of Paleolimnology

, Volume 19, Issue 4, pp 443–463 | Cite as

Modern diatom, cladocera, chironomid, and chrysophyte cyst assemblages as quantitative indicators for the reconstruction of past environmental conditions in the Alps. II. Nutrients

  • André F. Lotter
  • H. John B. Birks
  • Wolfgang Hofmann
  • Aldo Marchetto


Surface sediments from 68 small lakes in the Alps and 9 well-dated sediment core samples that cover a gradient of total phosphorus (TP) concentrations of 6 to 520 μg TP l-1 were studied for diatom, chrysophyte cyst, cladocera, and chironomid assemblages. Inference models for mean circulation log10 TP were developed for diatoms, chironomids, and benthic cladocera using weighted-averaging partial least squares. After screening for outliers, the final transfer functions have coefficients of determination (r2, as assessed by cross-validation, of 0.79 (diatoms), 0.68 (chironomids), and 0.49 (benthic cladocera). Planktonic cladocera and chrysophytes show very weak relationships to TP and no TP inference models were developed for these biota. Diatoms showed the best relationship with TP, whereas the other biota all have large secondary gradients, suggesting that variables other than TP have a strong influence on their composition and abundance. Comparison with other diatom – TP inference models shows that our model has high predictive power and a low root mean squared error of prediction, as assessed by cross-validation.

transfer functions WA-PLS total phosphorus trophic state eutrophication surface sediments Switzerland diatoms cladocera chironomids chrysophytes 


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Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 1998

Authors and Affiliations

  • André F. Lotter
    • 1
    • 2
  • H. John B. Birks
    • 3
    • 4
  • Wolfgang Hofmann
    • 5
  • Aldo Marchetto
    • 6
  1. 1.Geobotanical Institute, University of BernBernSwitzerland
  2. 2.Swiss Federal Institute of Environmental Science and Technology (EAWAG)DübendorfSwitzerland (e-mail
  3. 3.Botanical Institute, University of BergenBergenNorway
  4. 4.Environmental Change Research Centre, Dept. of GeographyUniversity College LondonLondonUK (e-mail
  5. 5.Max-Planck-Institut für LimnologiePlönGermany (e-mail
  6. 6.Consiglio Nazionale delle Ricerche, Istituto Italiano di IdrobiologiaVerbania PallanzaItaly (e-mail

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