EGU General Assembly 2021
© Author(s) 2021. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Impact of climate change and industrialization on remote Lake Bolshoe Toko, Siberia 

Boris K. Biskaborn1, Biljana Narancic1,2, Kathleen R. Stoof-Leichsenring1, Lyudmila A. Pestryakova3, Peter G. Appleby4, Gayane T. Piliposian4, and Bernhard Diekmann1,5
Boris K. Biskaborn et al.
  • 1Alfred Wegener Institute Helmholtz Centre for Polar and Marine Research, Polar Terrestrial Environmental Systems, Potsdam, Germany (
  • 2Laboratoire de Paléoécologie Aquatique, Centre d’Études nordiques & Département de géographie, Université Laval, Quebec City, Canada
  • 3North-Eastern Federal University of Yakutsk, Yakutsk, Russia
  • 4Environmental Radioactivity Research Centre, Department of Mathematical Sciences, University of Liverpool, Liverpool, UK
  • 5University of Potsdam, Institute of Environmental Science and Geography, Potsdam, Germany

To test if recent climate change and pollution affected remote lake ecosystems without direct human influence, we used paleolimnological methods on lake sediments from a large, prestine, and deep lake in Yakutia, Russia. We compared diatoms and sediment-geochemistry from before and after the onset of industrialization in the mid-nineteenth century, at water depths between 12.1 and 68.3 m in Lake Bolshoe Toko. We analyzed diatom species changes and geochemical changes including mercury concentrations. Chronologies were established using 210Pb and 137Cs revealing sedimentation rates between 0.018 and 0.033 cm y-1 at shallow- and deep-water sites, respectively. Increase in light planktonic diatoms (Cyclotella) and decrease in heavily silicified euplanktonic Aulacoseira through time at deep-water sites can be related to warming air temperatures and shorter periods of lake-ice cover, causing pronounced thermal stratification. Diatom beta diversity changed only significantly in shallow-water communities which can be related to the development of new habitats with macrophyte growth. Mercury concentrations increased by a factor of 1.6 as a result of atmospheric fallout. Increases in the chrysophyte Mallomonas indicates a trend towards acidification. We conclude that also remote boreal lakes are susceptible to human-induced long-distance pollution and recent climate change.

How to cite: Biskaborn, B. K., Narancic, B., Stoof-Leichsenring, K. R., Pestryakova, L. A., Appleby, P. G., Piliposian, G. T., and Diekmann, B.: Impact of climate change and industrialization on remote Lake Bolshoe Toko, Siberia , EGU General Assembly 2021, online, 19–30 Apr 2021, EGU21-10887,, 2021.

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