Articles | Volume 14, issue 8
Biogeosciences, 14, 2033–2054, 2017

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

Biogeosciences, 14, 2033–2054, 2017
Research article
20 Apr 2017
Research article | 20 Apr 2017

The environmental and evolutionary history of Lake Ohrid (FYROM/Albania): interim results from the SCOPSCO deep drilling project

Bernd Wagner1, Thomas Wilke2, Alexander Francke1, Christian Albrecht2, Henrike Baumgarten3, Adele Bertini4, Nathalie Combourieu-Nebout5, Aleksandra Cvetkoska6, Michele D'Addabbo7, Timme H. Donders6, Kirstin Föller2, Biagio Giaccio8, Andon Grazhdani9, Torsten Hauffe2, Jens Holtvoeth10, Sebastien Joannin11, Elena Jovanovska2, Janna Just1, Katerina Kouli12, Andreas Koutsodendris13, Sebastian Krastel14, Jack H. Lacey15,16, Niklas Leicher1, Melanie J. Leng15,16, Zlatko Levkov17, Katja Lindhorst14, Alessia Masi18, Anna M. Mercuri19, Sebastien Nomade20, Norbert Nowaczyk21, Konstantinos Panagiotopoulos1, Odile Peyron11, Jane M. Reed22, Eleonora Regattieri1,8, Laura Sadori18, Leonardo Sagnotti23, Björn Stelbrink2, Roberto Sulpizio7,24, Slavica Tofilovska17, Paola Torri19, Hendrik Vogel25, Thomas Wagner26, Friederike Wagner-Cremer6, George A. Wolff27, Thomas Wonik3, Giovanni Zanchetta28, and Xiaosen S. Zhang29 Bernd Wagner et al.
  • 1Institute of Geology and Mineralogy, University of Cologne, Cologne, Germany
  • 2Department of Animal Ecology & Systematics, Justus Liebig University Giessen, Giessen, Germany
  • 3Leibniz Institute for Applied Geophysics (LIAG), Hanover, Germany
  • 4Dipartimento di Scienze della Terra, Università di Firenze, Firenze, Italy
  • 5CNRS UMR 7194, Muséum National d'Histoire Naturelle, Institut de Paléontologie Humaine, Paris, France
  • 6Palaeoecology, Department of Physical Geography, Utrecht University, Utrecht, the Netherlands
  • 7Dipartimento di Scienze della Terra e Geoambientali, University of Bari, Bari, Italy
  • 8Istituto di Geologia Ambientale e Geoingegneria – CNR, Rome, Italy
  • 9Faculty of Geology and Mineralogy, University of Tirana, Tirana, Albania
  • 10School of Chemistry, University of Bristol, Bristol, UK
  • 11CNRS UMR 5554, Institut des Sciences de l'Evolution de Montpellier, Université de Montpellier, Montpellier, France
  • 12Faculty of Geology and Geoenvironment, National and Kapodistrian University of Athens, Athens, Greece
  • 13Paleoenvironmental Dynamics Group, Institute of Earth Sciences, Heidelberg University, Heidelberg, Germany
  • 14Institute of Geosciences, Christian-Albrechts-Universität zu Kiel, Kiel, Germany
  • 15Centre for Environmental Geochemistry, School of Geography, University of Nottingham, Nottingham, UK
  • 16NERC Isotope Geosciences Facilities, British Geological Survey, Keyworth, Nottingham, UK
  • 17Institute of Biology, Saints Cyril and Methodius University of Skopje, Skopje, Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia
  • 18Dipartimento di Biologia Ambientale, Università di Roma “La Sapienza”, Rome, Italy
  • 19Dipartimento di Scienze della Vita, Laboratorio di Palinologia e Paleobotanica, Università di Modena e Reggio Emilia, Modena, Italy
  • 20Laboratoire des Sciences du Climat et de l'Environnement, UMR 8212, CEA/CNRS/UVSQ et Université Paris-Saclay 91198 Gif-Sur-Yvette, France
  • 21Helmholtz Centre Potsdam, GFZ German Research Centre for Geosciences, Potsdam, Germany
  • 22Geography, School of Environmental Sciences, University of Hull, Hull, UK
  • 23Istituto Nazionale di Geofisica e Vulcanologia, Rome, Italy
  • 24IDPA-CNR, via M. Bianco 9, Milan, Italy
  • 25Institute of Geological Sciences and Oeschger Centre for Climate Change Research, University of Bern, Bern, Switzerland
  • 26The Lyell Centre, Heriot-Watt University, Edinburgh, UK
  • 27Department of Earth, Ocean and Ecological Sciences, School of Environmental Sciences, University of Liverpool, Liverpool, UK
  • 28Dipartimento di Scienze della Terra, University of Pisa, Pisa, Italy
  • 29Institute of Loess Plateau, Shanxi University, Taiyuan, China

Abstract. This study reviews and synthesises existing information generated within the SCOPSCO (Scientific Collaboration on Past Speciation Conditions in Lake Ohrid) deep drilling project. The four main aims of the project are to infer (i) the age and origin of Lake Ohrid (Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia/Republic of Albania), (ii) its regional seismotectonic history, (iii) volcanic activity and climate change in the central northern Mediterranean region, and (iv) the influence of major geological events on the evolution of its endemic species. The Ohrid basin formed by transtension during the Miocene, opened during the Pliocene and Pleistocene, and the lake established de novo in the still relatively narrow valley between 1.9 and 1.3 Ma. The lake history is recorded in a 584 m long sediment sequence, which was recovered within the framework of the International Continental Scientific Drilling Program (ICDP) from the central part (DEEP site) of the lake in spring 2013. To date, 54 tephra and cryptotephra horizons have been found in the upper 460 m of this sequence. Tephrochronology and tuning biogeochemical proxy data to orbital parameters revealed that the upper 247.8 m represent the last 637 kyr. The multi-proxy data set covering these 637 kyr indicates long-term variability. Some proxies show a change from generally cooler and wetter to drier and warmer glacial and interglacial periods around 300 ka. Short-term environmental change caused, for example, by tephra deposition or the climatic impact of millennial-scale Dansgaard–Oeschger and Heinrich events are superimposed on the long-term trends. Evolutionary studies on the extant fauna indicate that Lake Ohrid was not a refugial area for regional freshwater animals. This differs from the surrounding catchment, where the mountainous setting with relatively high water availability provided a refuge for temperate and montane trees during the relatively cold and dry glacial periods. Although Lake Ohrid experienced significant environmental change over the last 637 kyr, preliminary molecular data from extant microgastropod species do not indicate significant changes in diversification rate during this period. The reasons for this constant rate remain largely unknown, but a possible lack of environmentally induced extinction events in Lake Ohrid and/or the high resilience of the ecosystems may have played a role.

Short summary
Lake Ohrid is considered to be the oldest existing lake in Europe. Moreover, it has a very high degree of endemic biodiversity. During a drilling campaign at Lake Ohrid in 2013, a 569 m long sediment sequence was recovered from Lake Ohrid. The ongoing studies of this record provide first important information on the environmental and evolutionary history of the lake and the reasons for its high endimic biodiversity.
Final-revised paper