Palaeoecological evidence for sustained change in a shallow Murray River (Australia) floodplain lake: regime shift or press response?
- Authors: Kattel, Giri , Gell, Peter , Zawadzki, Atun , Barry, Linda
- Date: 2017
- Type: Text , Journal article
- Relation: Hydrobiologia Vol. 787, no. 1 (2017), p. 269-290
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- Description: Paleolimnological techniques can reveal long-term perturbations and associated stable state transitions of lake ecosystems. However, such transitions are difficult to predict since changes to lake ecosystems can be abrupt or gradual. This study examined whether there were past transitions in the ecological regime of Kings Billabong, a shallow River Murray wetland in southeast Australia. A 94-cm-long core, covering c. 90 years of age, was analysed at 1 cm resolution for subfossil cladocerans, diatoms and other proxies. Prior to river regulation (c. 1930), the littoral to planktonic ratios of cladocerans and diatoms, and bulk sediment delta C-13 values were high, while the period from c. 1930 to c. 1970 experienced considerable changes to the wetland ecosystem. The abrupt nature of changes of planktonic cladocerans and diatoms, particularly after the onset of river regulation (1930s), was triggered by inundation, high rates of sedimentation and shifts in bulk sediment delta N-15 values. However, the transition of a once littoral-dominated community, to one favouring an increasingly turbid, plankton-dominated trophic condition following river regulation was relatively slow and lasted for decades. The progression to a new regime was likely delayed by the partial recovery of submerged plant communities and related internal dynamics.
Tracking a century of change in trophic structure and dynamics in a floodplain wetland: Integrating palaeoecological and palaeoisotopic evidence
- Authors: Kattel, Giri , Gell, Peter , Perga, Marie-Elodie , Jeppesen, Erik , Grundell, Rosie , Weller, Sandra , Zawadzki, Atun , Barry, Linda
- Date: 2015
- Type: Text , Journal article
- Relation: Freshwater Biology Vol. 60, no. 4 (2015), p. 711-723
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- Description: The palaeoecological assessment, and the use of stable isotopes of carbon in subfossils of herbivores and omnivores, represents a novel approach to understand transitions in past food-web structure and the dynamics of lake ecosystems in response to natural perturbations and human impacts. Combined with records of subfossil assemblages of cladocerans and chironomids, it may be possible to decipher whether changes are attributable to external forces or internally derived system shifts. A sediment record taken from the shallow (2.3 m depth) Kings Billabong in the River Murray floodplain (Australia) was analysed to explore changes in trophic dynamics over the past century. The palaeoecological assessment revealed that littoral assemblages of cladocerans and benthic diatoms were gradually replaced by planktonic (planktonic and facultative planktonic) assemblages after river regulation in the 1920s. The stable isotopic composition of carbon (