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Use of sedimentary diatoms from multiple lakes to distinguish between past changes in trophic state and climate: evidence for climate change in northern Germany during the past 5,000 years

Dreßler, Mirko; Schwarz, Anja; Hübener, Thomas; Adler, Sven; Scharf, Burkhard W.


Fossil diatoms from lake sediments have been used to infer both past trophic state and climate conditions. In Europe, climate reconstructions focused on northern and alpine regions because these areas are climatically sensitive and anthropogenic impact was low. In contrast, anthropogenic impact was often high in the central European lowlands, such as northern Germany, beginning in the Neolithic Age, similar to 3700 BC. Since that time, trophic state change was the main factor that affected diatom assemblages in central European lowland lakes. Therefore, it was considered difficult or impossible to identify climate changes in the region using sedimented diatoms. We used diatom assemblage changes, diatom-inferred total phosphorus concentrations and the relative abundance of planktonic diatoms from sediments of three lakes that differ in their location, size, morphology, catchment area and current trophic state to test whether we could distinguish between trophic state and climate signals over the past 5,000 years in northern Germany. In this study, changes in trophic state and climate were well differentiated. In the study lakes, relative abundance of planktonic diatoms seems to be linked to the length of lake mixing phases. Planktonic diatom abundance decreased during years with shorter mixing duration, and these shorter mixing times probably reflect colder winters. The diatom-inferred periods of short mixing phases from 1000 BC to AD 500 and from AD 1300 to 1800 coincide well with two known cooling phases in Europe and the North Atlantic region.


Northern Germany; Lowland lakes; Planktonic diatoms; Climate versus trophy; Lake mixing; Late Holocene; Paleolimnology

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Journal of Paleolimnology
2011, Volym: 45, nummer: 2, sidor: 223-241
Utgivare: SPRINGER

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