Articles | Volume 13, issue 10
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 Cvetkoska, Elena Jovanovska, Alexander Francke, Slavica Tofilovska, Hendrik Vogel, Zlatko Levkov, Timme H. Donders, Bernd Wagner, and Friederike Wagner-Cremer

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