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Biological and geochemical record of anthropogenic impacts in recent sediments from Lake Pupuke, Auckland City, New Zealand

by admin last modified 2008-03-25 02:08 PM

Augustinus P, Reid M, Andersson S, Deng Y, Horrocks M. 2006. Journal of Paleolimnology 35, 789-805.


Frozen sediment cores from Lake Pupuke in Auckland City, New Zealand, contain a high resolution decadal to annual scale record of changing lake paleoenvironments and geochemistry that reflects changing landuse and hydrology in the catchment over the past c. 190 yrs. A reliable chronology is available from AMS 14C and 210Pb dating of the sediments, with the timing of the older part of the record supported by the first appearance of pollen of introduced Pinus and Plantago lanceolata associated with European settlement of Auckland in the early 1840s.

Diatom stratigraphy, sediment elemental and carbon isotope geochemistry reflect changes in sediment sources and lake conditions commensurate with European development of the Lake Pupuke catchment, in particular enhanced algal productivity controlled by the influx of nutrients after c. 1920 AD. Attempts to prevent nuisance algal blooms in 1933, 1934 and 1939 using CuSO4 addition produced Cu spikes in the sediment that allowed confirmation of the accuracy of the 210Pb chronology. Hence, the elemental and isotopic composition of the Lake Pupuke sediments reflect the timing of significant anthropogenic activities, rather than climatic variations, that have occurred within the watershed over the past c. 190 years. The comparison of records of land use change in the catchment with the multi-proxy record of changes in the sediments usually allowed unambiguous identification of the signatures of change and their causes.


Lake sediment, trace elements, diatoms, pollen, transfer function, eutrophication.

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