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Assessing degradation and recovery pathways in lakes impacted by eutrophication using the sediment record

Bennion, H; Simpson, GL; Goldsmith, BJ; (2015) Assessing degradation and recovery pathways in lakes impacted by eutrophication using the sediment record. Frontiers in Ecology and Evolution , 3 (94) 10.3389/fevo.2015.00094. Green open access

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Abstract

Efforts to restore enriched lakes have increased yet there remains uncertainty about whether restoration targets can be achieved and over what timescale. Paleoecological techniques, principally diatom analyses, were used to examine the degree of impact and recovery in 12 European lakes subject to eutrophication and subsequent reduction in nutrient loading. Dissimilarity scores showed that all sites experienced progressive deviation from the reference sample (core bottom) prior to nutrient reduction, and principal curves indicated gradual compositional change with enrichment. When additive models were applied to the latter, the changes were statistically significant in 9 of the 12 sites. Shifts in diatom composition following reduction in nutrient loading were more equivocal, with a reversal toward the reference flora seen only in four of the deep lakes and one of the shallow lakes. Of these, only two were significant (Lake Bled and Mjøsa). Alternative nutrient sources seem to explain the lack of apparent recovery in the other deep lakes. In three shallow lakes diatom assemblages were replaced by a community associated with lower productivity but not the one seen prior to enrichment. Internal loading and top down control may influence recovery in shallow lakes and climate change may have confounded recovery in several of the study sites. Hence, ecosystem recovery is not simply a reversal of the degradation pathway and may take several decades to complete or, for some lakes, may not take place at all. By assessing ecological change over a decadal to centennial timescale, the study highlights the important role that paleolimnology can play in establishing a benchmark against which managers can evaluate the degree to which their restoration efforts are successful.

Type: Article
Title: Assessing degradation and recovery pathways in lakes impacted by eutrophication using the sediment record
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.3389/fevo.2015.00094
Publisher version: http://dx.doi.org/10.3389/fevo.2015.00094
Language: English
Additional information: © 2015 Bennion, Simpson and Goldsmith. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) or licensor are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms. http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/
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/1470578
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