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Type of publication: Journal Article
Type of document: Full Paper

Year: 2013

Authors: Muri, G; Cermelj, B; Jacimovic, R; Skaberne, D; Smuc, A; Sturm, MB; Tursic, J; Vreca, P

Title: Consequences of anthropogenic activity for two remote alpine lakes in NW Slovenia as tracked by sediment geochemistry.

Source: J Paleolimnol (50), 4 457-470.

Authors Vetmeduni Vienna:

Burnik Sturm Martina

Vetmed Research Units
Research Institute of Wildlife Ecology

Several geological and geochemical parameters were determined in the sediments of the 5th (5 J) and 6th (6 J) Triglav Lakes, Julian Alps (NW Slovenia), in order to study the impact of natural catchment characteristics and anthropogenic activity. Fish were introduced into both lakes in 1991 and a mountain hut lies on the shore of 5 J. Sedimentary grain size (GS) was distinctly coarser in 5 J than 6 J, with arithmetic means ranging between 46 and 60 and 23-36 mu m, respectively. In contrast, the mineralogical composition of the two sediments was similar. Calcite predominated strongly, comprising more than 77 % of total minerals, while dolomite and quartz were rare. Organic carbon (OC) and total nitrogen (TN) concentrations were highest in surficial sediments, with levels of 14.4 and 1.8 %, and 19.3 and 2.4 % observed in 5 J and 6 J, respectively. C/N ratios (atomic) were lowest in the same surface sediments, with the two lakes characterized by similar values (9.6 vs. 9.4, respectively), suggesting a predominance of autochthonous organic matter (OM) in both lakes. Contemporary delta C-13 values were lower in 5 J (-21.0 aEuro degrees) than 6 J (-18.5 aEuro degrees) sediments. Considerable changes in these four parameters were observed in recently deposited material, reflecting a shift in the trophic status of both lakes that was likely induced by the introduction of fish. In addition, the smaller and shallower 6 J seemed to respond to changes faster than the larger and deeper 5 J, indicating the higher sensitivity of the former. delta N-15 values in surface sediments of 5 J and 6 J were -2.9 and -4.4 aEuro degrees, respectively, with levels increasing gradually with depth to approximately +1.0 aEuro degrees in deeper sediments. The observed changes could most likely be attributed to the atmospheric deposition of reactive nitrogen. The mountain hut has seemingly not had a significant enough impact on the lakes to be recorded in their sediments.

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