Tuesday, 16 December 2014
David Alexander McLennan, Jennifer C Latimer, Tina M Williams, Sabrina R Brown, Jeffery Stone and Alan McCune, Indiana State University, Terre Haute, IN, United States
Island Lake, situated within the Precambrian rocks of the Beartooth Mountains that run along the border of Wyoming and Montana, is a glacial lake located at the tree line with an elevation of 3048 m, a maximum water depth of 33 m, a catchment area of 11.7 km2, and a lake area of 0.61 km2. Like many alpine lakes, Island Lake is highly transparent with a deep chlorophyll maximum. Alpine settings may be more susceptible to small perturbations in climate and thus good sensors for investigating climate change. It is hypothesized that this low-nutrient alpine lake has shifted from a nitrogen-limiting system to one that is limited by phosphorus (P) availability. In summer 2013, a 1.54-m sediment core was collected for diatom and geochemical analyses, including P and metals. Detailed P geochemistry can be used to elucidate landscape evolution and P burial fluxes can provide insight into biogeochemical cycling over time. Changes in landscape due to fire, zonal shifts in vegetation, and shifts in climatological factors such as precipitation can impact the bioavailability of P entering the lake as well as burial fluxes. The sediment record will clarify the role of P in lake biogeochemical cycling at Island Lake through the Holocene. Planktonic diatom abundances have been used to reconstruct a history of Holocene lake stratification, and ongoing detailed P geochemistry using a sequential extraction technique (SEDEX) will be used to identify the role of P fluxes on productivity within the lake. SEDEX can differentiate between P associated with oxides/oxyhydroxides, mineral fractions, and organic matter, and the relative changes in these fractions provide insight into landscape dynamics. Coupled with diatom proxies, P geochemistry can also provide a better understanding of biogeochemical cycling within the lake. This multiproxy approach should provide insight into the responses within the catchment to environmental changes over the Holocene.