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Mission possible: diatoms can be used to infer past duckweed (lemnoid Araceae) dominance in ponds

Emson, D; Sayer, CD; Bennion, H; Patmore, IR; Rioual, P; (2017) Mission possible: diatoms can be used to infer past duckweed (lemnoid Araceae) dominance in ponds. Journal of Paleolimnology , 60 pp. 209-221. 10.1007/s10933-017-0008-6. Green open access

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Abstract

Compared to larger lakes, ponds have rarely been the focus of palaeoecological studies. A common feature of ponds, especially those subject to eutrophication, is mass surface coverings of lemnoid Araceae (duckweed) which have severe implications for ecological processes in small waterbodies, in particular lowered oxygen content. To help understand the implications of duckweed dominance for the long-term ecology of ponds, and to determine the potential for palaeoecological studies in ponds more generally, we develop a new diatom-based Lemna-indicator metric. Recent studies of diatom host-plant relationships have shown significant associations between duckweed and the epiphytes Lemnicola hungarica and Sellaphora saugerresii (formally known as Sellaphora seminulum). To determine the potential of these species as palaeo-indicators of long-term duckweed dynamics in ponds, we investigated the diatom composition of surface sediment assemblages in sets of duckweed and non-duckweed-dominated ponds in Norfolk, eastern England. In addition, we undertook diatom analysis of two cores from a small farmland pond (Bodham Rail Pit) subject to a known duckweed dominance event (1999–2005). Both L. hungarica and S. saugerresii were significant predictors of past Lemna dominance in the surface sediments. Further, in the core study, both diatom species accurately and closely tracked the documented “on–off” duckweed cycle. Our study suggests huge potential for using ponds in palaeoecological studies and for diatom-based investigations of floating plant histories.

Type: Article
Title: Mission possible: diatoms can be used to infer past duckweed (lemnoid Araceae) dominance in ponds
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1007/s10933-017-0008-6
Publisher version: http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s10933-017-0008-6
Language: English
Additional information: © The Author(s) 2017. This article is an open access publication
Keywords: Floating plants, Lemnicola hungarica, Palaeoecology, Sellaphora saugerresii, Sellaphora seminulum, Surface sediments
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of S&HS
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of S&HS > Dept of Geography
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10039621
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