Indexed on: 05 Oct '14Published on: 05 Oct '14Published in: Journal of Paleolimnology
Cladocerans are valuable indicators of environmental change in lakes. Their fossils provide information on past changes in lake environments. However, few studies have quantitatively examined the relationships between contemporary and sub-fossil cladoceran assemblages and no investigations are available from Mediterranean lakes where salinity, eutrophication and top-down control of large-bodied cladocerans are known to be important. Here we compared contemporary Cladocera assemblages, sampled in summer, from both littoral and pelagic zones, with their sub-fossil remains from surface sediment samples from 40 Turkish, mainly shallow, lakes. A total of 20 and 27 taxa were recorded in the contemporary and surface sediment samples, respectively. Procrustes rotation was applied to both the principal components analysis (PCA) and redundancy analysis (RDA) ordinations in order to explore the relationship between the cladoceran community and the environmental variables. Procrustes rotation analysis based on PCA showed a significant accord between both littoral and combined pelagic–littoral contemporary and sedimentary assemblages. RDA ordinations indicated that a similar proportion of variance was explained by environmental variation for the contemporary and fossil Cladocera data. Total phosphorus and salinity were significant explanatory variables for the contemporary assemblage, whereas salinity emerged as the only significant variable for the sedimentary assemblage. The residuals from the Procrustes rotation identified a number of lakes with a high degree of dissimilarity between modern and sub-fossil assemblages. Analysis showed that high salinity, deep water and high macrophyte abundance were linked to a lower accord between contemporary and sedimentary assemblages. This low accord was, generally the result of poor representation of some salinity tolerant, pelagic and macrophyte-associated taxa in the contemporary samples. This study provides further confirmation that there is a robust relationship between samples of modern cladoceran assemblages and their sedimentary remains. Thus, sub-fossil cladoceran assemblages from sediment cores can be used with confidence to track long-term changes in this environmentally sensitive group and in Mediterranean lakes, subjected to large inter-annual variation in water level, salinity and nutrients.