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Paleoecology Lab

UW-Stevens Point

Author

kslemmon

Student Teachers

Elizabeth Franklin, Nekoosa High School (Jon Joslin) & Ben Franklin (Carrie Vrieze), Fall 2013

Megan Stebane, Wisconsin Dells (Amanda Levzow-Seichter), Fall 2013

Brittney Buchkowski, DC Everest (Scott Jirik), Spring 2014

Gordon Hoeldtke, Marshfield High School (Dean McFarlane), Spring 2014

Jessica Pintens, Stevens Point Area Schools (Karla Lockman), Spring 2014

Melissa Mehre, Horace Mann Middle School (Thome) & Wausau Engineering and Global Leadership Academy (Matt Lindsey), Spring 2014

Natalie Titus, Westfield High School (Brian Thays), Spring 2014

Erick Minnameier, DeForest Middle School (Jen Brandl) & Baraboo High School (Michelle Bartman), Fall 2014

Andrew Plisch Ben Franklin Junior High (Patricia Dakins)

Dustin Buntrock Wausau East High School (Constance Farmer and Darlene Beattie), Spring 2015

William Bialecki Merrill High School (Eric Simkins) Spring 2015

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Most Recent Publication

Check out our recent publication in the Journal of Paleolimnology.

Slemmons KE, Saros JE, Stone JR, McGowan S, Hess CT, Cahl D (2015) Effects of glacier meltwater on the algal sedimentary record of an alpine lake in the central U.S. Rocky Mountains throughout the late Holocene. Journal of Paleolimnology 53(4) 385-399. doi: 10.1007/s10933-015-9829-3

Abstract

The effects of alpine glaciers on the hydrology, physical features, and biogeochemistry of lakes have been investigated over contemporary time scales. However, the influence of these factors on algal communities over longer time scales remains unclear, yet is critical to paleolimnological interpretation of environmental change in alpine regions. We examined sedimentary algal pigments and fossil diatom assemblages in two proximal lakes with equivalent local climates, one glacier-fed and one snow-fed, in the central Rocky Mountains (USA) to determine how glacier meltwater has altered algal records over the last 3,000 years. Differences between the records of the two lakes intensified during the Medieval Climate Anomaly and the Little Ice Age, with the glacier-fed lake exhibiting an overall increase in fossil algal pigment concentrations and greater diatom assemblage turnover. Starting 1,000 years ago, the glacier-fed lake in this study showed evidence of nitrogen enrichment from glacier meltwater, as indicated by increasing relative abundances of Asterionella formosa and, to a lesser extent, Fragilaria crotonensis. Since the Little Ice Age, diatom species richness declined in the glacier-fed lake, and further decreased following the 1950’s, while assemblage turnover increased. These results demonstrate that glaciers can strongly alter the algal sedimentary record and should be considered when interpreting high-elevation lake records.

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