Articles | Volume 13, issue 10
Biogeosciences, 13, 3147–3162, 2016

Special issue: Integrated perspectives on biological and geological dynamics...

Biogeosciences, 13, 3147–3162, 2016

Research article 31 May 2016

Research article | 31 May 2016

Ecosystem regimes and responses in a coupled ancient lake system from MIS 5b to present: the diatom record of lakes Ohrid and Prespa

Aleksandra Cvetkoska1, Elena Jovanovska2, Alexander Francke3, Slavica Tofilovska4, Hendrik Vogel5, Zlatko Levkov4, Timme H. Donders1, Bernd Wagner3, and Friederike Wagner-Cremer1 Aleksandra Cvetkoska et al.
  • 1Utrecht University, Palaeoecology, Department of Physical Geography, Utrecht, the Netherlands
  • 2Justus Liebig University, Department of Animal Ecology and Systematics, Giessen, Germany
  • 3University of Cologne, Institute of Geology and Mineralogy, Cologne, Germany
  • 4University Ss Cyril and Methodius, Institute of Biology, Skopje, Macedonia
  • 5University of Bern, Institute of Geological Sciences & Oeschger Centre for Climate Change Research, Bern, Switzerland

Abstract. We reconstruct the aquatic ecosystem interactions since the last interglacial period in the oldest, most diverse, hydrologically connected European lake system, by using palaeolimnological diatom and selected geochemistry data from Lake Ohrid “DEEP site” core and equivalent data from Lake Prespa core, Co1215. Driven by climate forcing, the lakes experienced two adaptive cycles during the last 92 ka: "interglacial and interstadial" and "glacial" cycle. The short-term ecosystems reorganizations, e.g. regime shifts within these cycles substantially differ between the lakes, as evident from the inferred amplitudes of variation. The deeper Lake Ohrid shifted between ultra oligo- and oligotrophic regimes in contrast to the much shallower Lake Prespa, which shifted from a deeper, (oligo-) mesotrophic to a shallower, eutrophic lake and vice versa. Due to the high level of ecosystem stability (e.g. trophic state, lake level), Lake Ohrid appears relatively resistant to external forcing, such as climate and environmental change. Recovering in a relatively short time from major climate change, Lake Prespa is a resilient ecosystem. At the DEEP site, the decoupling between the lakes' response to climate change is marked in the prolonged and gradual changes during the MIS 5/4 and 2/1 transitions. These response differences and the lakes' different physical and chemical properties may limit the influence of Lake Prespa on Lake Ohrid. Regime shifts of Lake Ohrid due to potential hydrological change in Lake Prespa are not evident in the data presented here. Moreover, a complete collapse of the ecosystems functionality and loss of their diatom communities did not happen in either lake for the period presented in the study.

Final-revised paper