Electronic Thesis and Dissertation Repository

Degree

Master of Science

Program

Geography

Supervisor

Katrina Moser

Abstract

Many factors could be causing the widespread eutrophication being observed globally, including natural and human factors. In the mountainous regions of Alberta, Canada, warming temperatures, increased fire occurrence, and greater landscape disturbance could increase lake production. To determine the effects of these factors, proxies of lake production preserved in lake sediment records that span the last 1000 years were measured. These records are from two lakes that have not been affected by direct nutrient inputs from human activities; one in Jasper National Park and one from the Hinton area (Alberta). The results highlight that there is little effect of fire or landscape change on lake production, with the exception of the large and widespread fire that occurred in 1889 at Little Trefoil Lake #3. This fire caused a decrease in lake production, possibly due to increased turbidity and reduced light availability. There was a rapid increase in lake production in Little Trefoil Lake #3 and in diatom and chrysophyte production in ZS1 Lake after 1950/1960. These increases may be related to warming temperatures, but this hypothesis is not supported by the absence of change in lake production to earlier periods of warming. My research contributes to our knowledge of the effects of warming temperatures, fire, and landscape changes on small lakes in Alberta, Canada, which should help inform management decisions for protecting these sites.


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