Northeastern Section - 53rd Annual Meeting - 2018

Paper No. 3-6
Presentation Time: 9:45 AM


MCCARTHY, Francine M.G.1, GARNER, Caitlin S.2, KORNECKI, Krystyna3, SCHULER, Matthew S.4, PILKINGTON, Paul Michael5, KRUEGER, Andrea M.6, KATZ, Miriam E.3, RELYEA, Rick7, SCHALLER, Morgan F.3, STAGER, Jay Curt8, BOYLEN, Chuck A.4, EICHLER, Lawrence9 and NIERZWICKI-BAUER, Sandra9, (1)Department of Earth Sciences, Brock University, 500 Glenridge Ave, St Catharines, ON L2S 3A1, Canada, (2)Brock University, Sustainability Science and Society, St. Catharines, ON L2S 3A1, Canada, (3)Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, 110 8th Street, Troy, NY 12180, (4)Biological Sciences, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Troy, NY 12180, (5)Department of Earth Sciences, Brock University, St. Catharines, ON L2S 3A1, Canada, (6)Biological Sciences, Brock University, St. Catharines, ON L2S 3A1, Canada, (7)Biological Sciences, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, 1W14 Jonsson-Rowland Science Center, 110 8th Street, Troy, NY 12180, (8)Natural Sciences, Paul Smith's College, 7777 State Route 30, Paul Smith's, NY 12970, (9)Darrin Freshwater Institute, Bolton Landing, NY 12814

Water quality and recovery efforts are being studied by the Jefferson Project at Lake George, a partnership between Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, IBM, and the FUND for Lake George. Algal and other non-pollen palynomorphs (NPP) were compared with assemblages of better-understood paleolimnological proxies (testate amoebae and diatoms; Kornecki et al., in prep.) in 33 lakebed samples. This illustrated the utility of these organic-walled microfossils in “pollen slides” as biomonitors, particularly of human impact (McCarthy et al., in press). Green algae typically dominate palynological assemblages in the southern basin, with relatively abundant Coelastrum reticulatum and various Pediastrum and Cosmarium spp. recording mesotrophic – eutrophic conditions near population centers at Lake George Village and Bolton Landing. In contrast, lakebed sediments from the northern basin (surrounded by Forever Wild forest in the Adirondack Park) are typically dominated by cysts of dinoflagellates, especially Parvodinium inconspicuum and Fusiperidinium wisconsinense. Assemblages at the northernmost sites resemble those in the south basin, however, with abundant green algal palynomorphs recording anthropogenic impact from the town of Ticonderoga.

Microfossils in sediment archives record long-term environmental trends that can be compared to changes in water quality (e.g., salt and nutrient loading) measured since 1980 (Boylen et al., 2014), allowing the natural signature to be separated from the anthropogenic impact. Increased abundances of green algal palynomorphs in ragweed pollen-rich sediments confirm the impact of humans over the past few centuries, particularly in the southern basin.

References cited:

Boylen, C.W., L.W. Eichler, M.W. Swinton, S.A. Nierzwicki-Bauer, I.A. Hannoun and J.W. Short. 2014. The State of the Lake: Thirty Years of Water Quality Monitoring on Lake George, New York, 1980-2009. 72 pp.

Kornecki et al. in prep. Calibrating paleo-biomonitors in Lake George, NY sediments with modern geochemical and limnological measurements. Manuscript intended for Journal of Paleolimnology

McCarthy et al. in press. Algal palynomorphs as proxies of human impact on freshwater resources in the Great Lakes region. Anthropocene ANCENE158