Document Type




First Advisor's Name

Evelyn Gaiser

First Advisor's Committee Title

Committee Chair

Second Advisor's Name

Jennifer Richards

Third Advisor's Name

John Meeder

Fourth Advisor's Name

Suzanne Koptur

Fifth Advisor's Name

William Anderson


diatoms, paleoecology, paleolimnology, limnology, lakes

Date of Defense



Despite lake sensitivity to climate change, few Florida paleolimnological studies have focused on changes in hydrology. Evidence from Florida vegetation histories raise questions about long-term hydrologic history of Florida lakes, and a 25-year limnological dataset revealed recent climate-driven effects on Lake Annie. The objectives of this research are (1) to use modern diatom assemblages to develop methods for reconstruction of climatic and anthropogenic change (2) to reconstruct both long-term and recent histories of Lake Annie using diatom microfossils. Paleoenvironmental reconstruction models were developed from diatom assemblages of various habitat types from modern lakes. Plankton and sediment assemblages were similar, but epiphytes were distinct, suggesting differences in sediment delivery from different parts of the lakes. Relationships between a variety of physical and chemical data and the diatoms from each habitat type were explored. Total phosphorus (TP), pH, and color were found to be the most relevant variables for reconstruction, with sediment and epiphyte assemblages having the strongest relationships to those variables, six calibration models were constructed from the combination of these habitat types and environmental variables. Reconstructions utilizing the weighted averaging models in this study may be used to directly reveal TP, color, and pH changes from a sediment record, which might be suggestive of hydrologic change as well. These variables were reconstructed from the diatom record from both a long-term (11,000 year) and short-term (100 year) record and showed an interaction between climate-driven and local land-use impacts on Lake Annie. The long-term record begins with Lake Annie as a wetland, then the lake filled to a high stand around 4000 years ago. A period of relative stability after that point was interrupted near the turn of the last century by subtle changes in diatom communities that indicate acidification. Abrupt changes in the diatom communities around 1970 AD suggest recovery from acidification, but concurrent hydrologic change intensified anthropogenic effects on the lake. Diatom evidence for alkalization and phosphorus loading correspond to changes seen in the limnological record.



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