Peer-Reviewed Journal Details
Mandatory Fields
Dalton C.;O'Dwyer B.;Taylor D.;De Eyto E.;Jennings E.;Chen G.;Poole R.;Dillane M.;McGinnity P.
Anthropocene environmental change in an internationally important oligotrophic catchment on the Atlantic seaboard of western Europe
Scopus: 13 ()
Optional Fields
Aquatic ecosystem Climate change Legacy sediment NAO Oligotrophic systems Palaeoecology
2014 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved. Oligotrophic catchments with short spatey streams, upland lakes and peaty soils characterise northwest European Atlantic coastal regions. These catchments are important biodiversity refuges, particularly for sensitive diadromous fish populations but are subject to changes in land use and land management practices associated with afforestation, agriculture and rural development. Quantification of the degree of catchment degradation resulting from such anthropogenic impacts is often limited by a lack of long-term baseline data in what are generally relatively isolated, poorly studied catchments. This research uses a combination of palaeolimnological (radiometrically-dated variations in sedimentary geochemical elements, pollen, diatoms and remains of cladocera), census, and instrumental data, along with hindcast estimates to quantify environmental changes and their aquatic impacts since the late 19th century. The most likely drivers of any change are also identified. Results confirm an aquatic biotic response (phyto- and zooplankton) to soil erosion and nutrient enrichment associated with the onset of commercial conifer afforestation, effects that were subsequently enhanced as a result of increased overgrazing in the catchment and, possibly, climate warming. The implications for the health of aquatic resources in the catchment are discussed.
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