Eutrophication and recovery of Lake Vesijärvi (south Finland): Diatom frustules in varved sediments over a 30-year period

  • Mikko Liukkonen
  • Timo Kairesalo
  • Juha Keto
Part of the Developments in Hydrobiology book series (DIHY, volume 90)


Lake Vesijärvi was loaded by sewage from the City of Lahti for 60 years until 1976 when the discharge was diverted. Paleolimnological analyses of the varved bottom sediment indicate that the sedimentation rate within the Enonselkä basin, the most eutrophic part of the lake, has been as high as 2 cm yr−1, and total phosphorus accumulation was 20–40 g P m−2 yr−1 during the last 20 years. Within the less eutrophic Laitialanselkä basin, the sedimentation rate did not exceed 1 cm yr−1 and the formation of varved sediment only began at the end of the 1960’s, i.e. about 10 years later than in Enonselkä.

Planktonic diatom production was highest in the Enonselkä basin. The most abundant diatoms in the sediment between 1970–1985 were Asterionella formosa, Aulacoseira islandica and Stephanodiscus spp. Fragilaria crotonensis and Tabellaria fenestrata had low abundances in the middle of the 1970’s but increased again at the end of the 1970’s. Asterionella formosa and Diatoma elongatum reached their maxima between 1979–1984 when the hypolimnion of the Enonselkä basin was aerated artificially. In the Laitialanselkä basin, the production of planktonic diatoms has been lower and the species composition of the diatom community differed from that in Enonselkä. However, at the end of 1980’s the total accumulation of diatoms in Laitialanselkä approached levels which were observed at the end of 1950’s in Enonselkä, prior to the rapid eutrophication period.

The production and thereby the sedimentation of diatoms has decreased towards the end of the 1980’s in Enonselkä, indicating reduced nutrient availability in the lake water. This reduction was due to the decreased external loading of phosphorus as well as to the decreased release of phosphorus from the sediment as a result of improved oxygen balance in the hypolimnion.

Key words

diatoms paleolimnology eutrophication varved sediment phosphorus accumulation 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 1993

Authors and Affiliations

  • Mikko Liukkonen
    • 1
  • Timo Kairesalo
    • 2
  • Juha Keto
    • 3
  1. 1.Lammi Biological StationUniversity of HelsinkiLammiFinland
  2. 2.Lahti Research and Training CentreThe Environmental UnitLammiFinland
  3. 3.Lahti Municipal Research LaboratoryLahtiFinland

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