Changes in diatom assemblages in the profundal sediments of two large oligohumic lakes in eastern Finland

  • Minna Ollikainen
  • Heikki Simola
  • Riitta Niinioja
Part of the Developments in Hydrobiology book series (DIHY, volume 90)


Sedimentary diatom assemblages in two large oligotrophic clear-water lakes were analysed, to assess their present ecological state and possible eutrophication due to diffuse nutrient loading. The lakes Pyhäjärvi and Puruvesi (Finnish lake district) are proportionally large for their catchment areas which accounts for their long retention times (ca 7 and 11 yr) and oligohumic character. Pyhäjärvi was studied by pairwise comparison of surface sediment diatom assemblages collected in 1985 and 1990 at 12 sites from different parts of the lake. In Puruvesi, the stratigraphy of diatoms was analysed in two short cores from 8 m and 32 m depths.

The diatom assemblages of the two lakes are rather similar, and quite distinct from the assemblages of the mesohumic large lakes of the area. Cyclotella kuetzingiana is the most common planktonic diatom, but Aulacoseira ambigua abounds in Pyhäjärvi at sites with local sources of eutrophication. A diverse assemblage of benthic forms, especially Fragilaria and Achnanthes spp. characterizes the shallow bottoms in both lakes.

There was little change within the short-core diatom profiles of Puruvesi, but the floral composition of the 8-m and 32-m sites differed markedly. The 8-m site, with 60–70% of benthic forms, represents illuminated bottom, on which much of the buried algae have lived in situ, while the deeper site is true profundal, dominated by sedimented planktonic algae.

In Pyhäjärvi there was a slight increase in the benthic diatoms from 1985 to 1990, coinciding with increased phosphorus and chlorophyll concentrations as well as Secchi depth lowering. We interprete this observation as a very early step of eutrophication, of which first the sessile algal communities of the illuminated bottom areas have benefited.

Key words

sedimentary diatoms oligohumic lakes oligotrophy eutrophication 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 1993

Authors and Affiliations

  • Minna Ollikainen
    • 1
  • Heikki Simola
    • 1
  • Riitta Niinioja
    • 2
  1. 1.Karelian Institute, Section of EcologyUniversity of JoensuuJoensuuFinland
  2. 2.Water and Environment District Office of North KareliaJoensuuFinland

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