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Deciphering long-term records of natural variability and human impact as recorded in lake sediments: a palaeolimnological puzzle

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posted on 24.02.2017 by Keely Mills, Daniel Schillereff, Emilie Saulnier-Talbot, Peter Gell, Nicholas John Anderson, Fabien Arnaud, Xuhui Dong, Matthew Jones, Suzanne McGowan, Julieta Massaferro, Heather Moorhouse, Liseth Perez, David Ryves
Global aquatic ecosystems are under increasing threat from anthropogenic activity, as well as being exposed to past (and projected) climate change, however, the nature of how climate and human impacts are recorded in lake sediments is often ambiguous. Natural and anthropogenic drivers can force a similar response in lake systems, yet the ability to attribute what change recorded in lake sediments is natural, from that which is anthropogenic, is increasingly important for understanding how lake systems have, and will continue to function when subjected to multiple stressors; an issue that is particularly acute when considering management options for aquatic ecosystems. The duration and timing of human impacts on lake systems varies geographically, with some regions of the world (such as Africa and South America) having a longer legacy of human impact than others (e.g., New Zealand). A wide array of techniques (biological, chemical, physical and statistical) is available to palaeolimnologists to allow the deciphering of complex sedimentary records. Lake sediments are an important archive of how drivers have changed through time, and how these impacts manifest in lake systems. With a paucity of ‘real-time’ data pre-dating human impact, palaeolimnological archives offer the only insight into both natural variability (i.e., that driven by climate and intrinsic lake processes) and the impact of people. While there is a need to acknowledge complexity, and temporal and spatial variability when deciphering change from sediment archives, a palaeolimnological approach is a powerful tool for better understanding and managing global aquatic resources.

Funding

Neotropical palaeolimnological examples arise from projects funded by CONACYT 252148 and PAPIIT-UNAM IA100317 (to Liseth Perez and Julieta Massaferro).

History

School

  • Social Sciences

Department

  • Geography and Environment

Published in

Wiley Interdisciplinary Reviews: Water

Pages

e1404 - e1404

Citation

MILLS, K. ... et al, 2016. Deciphering long-term records of natural variability and human impact as recorded in lake sediments: a palaeolimnological puzzle. Wiley Interdisciplinary Reviews: Water, 4 (2): e1404.

Publisher

© 2016 British Geological Survey. © Wiley

Version

AM (Accepted Manuscript)

Publisher statement

This work is made available according to the conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International (CC BY-NC-ND 4.0) licence. Full details of this licence are available at: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/

Acceptance date

22/10/2016

Publication date

2016-12-27

Notes

This is the pre-peer reviewed version of the following article: MILLS, K. ... et al, 2016. Deciphering long-term records of natural variability and human impact as recorded in lake sediments: a palaeolimnological puzzle. Wiley Interdisciplinary Reviews: Water, 4 (2): e1404, which has been published in final form at http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/wat2.1195. This article may be used for non-commercial purposes in accordance with Wiley Terms and Conditions for Self-Archiving.

ISSN

2049-1948

Language

en

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