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Paleolimnology: A literature review
Umeå University, Faculty of Science and Technology, Department of Ecology and Environmental Sciences. (Paleolimnology)
2012 (English)Independent thesis Advanced level (degree of Master (Two Years)), 10 credits / 15 HE creditsStudent thesis
Abstract [en]

The aim of this literature study is to compare and discuss different fields of paleolimnology, with a focus on three main research areas – eutrophication, acidification, and climate change. Pioneering work and the development of paleolimnological methods around these three areas were reviewed and synthesized. Paleolimnology started out as limnology and paleoecology, but has evolved tremendously over the past decades. Early paleolimnological studies focused on lake ontogeny and mechanics in the catchment such as weathering. The focus eventually shifted to nutrient loadings during the 1960s – 1970s as the debate on human induced eutrophication emerged. The important question to answer was which nutrient was the limiting factor in eutrophication. Acidification was the next topic of investigation during the 1980s – 1990s, and paleolimnology developed methods to infer past pH change based on chironomids and diatom fossils preserved in lake sediment. This research resulted in calibration sets and proxies which can be used to reconstruct past conditions. The paleolimnological community eventually shifted focus in the late 1990s to climate change and began to use lake sediment to reconstruct past climatic trends using multiproxy studies such as diatoms, chironomids and geochemistry. Varved lake sediment offered a much needed terrestrial high resolution option to the ice core records. History plays a fundamental role in all environmental issues and paleolimnology has the ability to provide historical records of past environmental conditions. Paleolimnology will most likely play a key role in management and restoration in the future. As technology and training sets develop, fast and cheap ways to interpret sediment proxies will emerge and maybe even fully automated identification of proxies.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Keyword [en]
Diatoms, Lake Sediment, Eutrophication, Acidification, Climate change
National Category
Environmental Sciences
URN: urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-82900OAI: diva2:663876
Educational program
Master's Programme in Geoecology
Available from: 2013-11-15 Created: 2013-11-13 Last updated: 2013-11-15Bibliographically approved

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