EEB Seminar: April 3rd

Kristina Arseneau will talk on

Acidification & Climate Warming: Understanding Biological Recovery in Multiple Stressor Environments

at 12:30 in the EEB lounge (BioSciences 4338)

Lakes in North America and Europe are undergoing chemical recovery from acidification and there is consequently a pressing research need to define recovery targets for acidified sites. Researchers attempting to designate such targets are hampered by two issues: 1) a lack of long-term monitoring data; and, 2) the influence of multiple stressors on recovering lakes. This project highlights how pairing a regional reference site approach with paleolimnological techniques can overcome these two problems. Using a set of stringent selection criteria, 31 minimally-disturbed reference lakes protected from acidification, eutrophication, road salt seepage, and introduced piscivores were identified out of 1,469 Adirondack lakes (NY, USA). Paleolimnological techniques revealed that the species assemblages of the reference lakes have undergone a significant change in species composition since before 1900, including increases in warm-water species, large colonial algae, and algal taxa that can cause taste and odour issues in lakes. A subsequent series of case studies which paired reference lakes with acidified lakes revealed that though the acid-impacted lakes were undergoing recovery, they showed similar species shifts to those documented in the reference lakes. These shifting baselines make a return to pre-disturbance state an unreasonable recovery goal for acidified Adirondack lakes. Rather, recovery is likely to be a moving target as novel stressors like climate warming move both reference sites and recovering sites towards novel species assemblages with unknown ecological consequences.

Kristina Arseneau is currently finishing her Ph.D. at Queen’s, where she works in the Paleoecological Environmental Assessment and Research Laboratory with Dr. Brian F. Cumming. Kristina is interested in using paleolimnological techniques to understand biological recovery from acidification and specifically how we can understand and frame biological recovery in multiple stressor environments. Kristina’s fieldwork took place in the Adirondack Park in New York, where she and her field crews hiked in to more than 30 different lakes, dodging moose, overly ambitious beavers, and pathologically curious deer along the way.

Everyone is welcome to attend
Coffee and treats available at the seminar

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