Paleolimnological assessment of past aquatic vegetation dynamics and ecosytem state in Turkish shallow lakes

Levi, Eti Ester
Since submerged macrophytes are a key primary producer of shallow lakes and are sensitive to environmental changes, macrofossils of them can be used in investigations of past environmental conditions, to infer human introduced environmental impacts (e.g. eutrophication) and to determine past macrophyte communities. The present study includes twenty six shallow lakes, which were chosen along a latitudinal gradient ranging from the North (41°52́N, 27°58́E) to the South (37°06́N, 29°36́E) in Turkey. Sampling for environmental variables and sediment was carried out using a snap-shot sampling protocol (developed within the framework of the EU FP6 project ‘Eurolimpacs’) during the summers of three consecutive years (2006-2008). Surface sediment, short core and long core samples were retrieved from the lakes. The aims of this study were i. to compare the surface sediment plant macrofossils with present day macrophyte taxa of the lakes, ii. to determine the environmental variables potentially influencing the temporal changes in macrophyte communities, and iii. to assess vegetation community dynamics in dated short and long cores. Comparison of plant macrofossil assemblages in surface sediment with present day macrophyte coverage revealed that approximately 41% of the modern taxa were represented among the surface sediment macrofossils. Redundancy analysis (RDA) was carried out for surface macrofossil data with corresponding environmental data. RDA revealed relation of plant species and environmental variables (e.g. Salinity and Najas marina L.). Changes in plant species assemblages in short and long cores from eight lakes chosen along a latitudinal gradient ranging from North to South Turkey is discussed in relation to the RDA results.


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Human-induced changes in external nutrient loading affect the phytoplankton community and abundance directly by changing the amount of nutrients available, but also indirectly through changes in the zooplankton (that is, grazer) community structure, mediated in part by changes in the fish community structure and biomass. Such shifts affect the species dynamics and community succession of lake phytoplankton communities, and they may ultimately influence community stability. However, the relative importance o...
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Lake ecosystems are exposed to a range of anthropogenic pressures, particularly eutrophication, and in some cases also stocking and/or overfishing of top-predator fish species, all factors that have implications for the food web structure and which could lead to dominance of nuisance cyanobacteria. Restoration of degraded lakes demands insight into the relative role of top-down for bottom-up regulating forces. While knowledge about these forces in temperate lakes is extensive, comparatively little is known ...
Citation Formats
E. E. Levi, “Paleolimnological assessment of past aquatic vegetation dynamics and ecosytem state in Turkish shallow lakes,” M.S. - Master of Science, Middle East Technical University, 2009.