Taconite Inlet Project

Changes in the importantce of lotic and littoral diatoms in a High Arctic lake over the 191 years.

S.D.Ludlam (%), S. Feeney (%) and M.S.V. Douglas (*),(#).

(%) Dept. of Biology, University of Massachusetts, Amherst, MA 01003, USA.

(*) Dept. of Geosciences, University of Massachusetts, Amherst, MA 01003-5820, U.S.A.

(#) Present Address: Department of Geology, University of Toronto, 22 Russell St., Toronto, Ontario, M5S 3B1, Canada.


Both habitat preferences and community associations for some of the most prominant pennate taxa in our profile were established using samples from the modern lake and its watershed. Habitat preferences were used to establish a simple indicator for the relative contribution of lotic communities in this lake (Lotic Index) and indicator taxa for both littoral (Achnanthes spp. and Cymbella spp.) and lotic (Hannaea arcus and Meridion circulare) communities. When profiled, the Lotic Index showed a clear positive relationship to sedimentation rate as recorded in the varves, while profiles of littoral indicator taxa show the opposite trends. It seems likely that the patterns we observed in the Lotic Index are related to changes in runoff. Apparently, there was a period of declining runoff beginning ca. two centuries ago and ending in the late 1800's. This was followed by increasing runoff lasting until the middle of the 20th century. A brief minimum occurred in ca. 1970 followed by a recovery by ca. 1980.

A strong positive relationship was also found between the dates of major turbidites, exceptionally thick varves and the concentration of valves in the sediment. It is possible that many of the thicker varves in the profiles contain littoral material transported to the site of deposition by turbid interflows and underflows. For this reason, the concentration of valves in the sediment in our cores appears to be a proxy for sediment deposition from turbidity currents.

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