Ruggiu, Delio and Lugliè, Antonella Gesuina Laura and Cattaneo, Antonella and Panzani, Pierisa (1998) Paleoecological evidence for diatom response to metal pollution in Lake Orta (N. Italy). Journal of Paleolimnology, Vol. 20 (4), p. 333-345. eISSN 1573-0417. Article.
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Diatom remains were analysed in two short sediment cores from a subalpine Italian lake (Lake Orta), known for its major industrial pollution dating from the late 1920s, which has only recently been stopped. Copper was recognised as the main toxic agent for diatoms during the first 30 years of pollution (peak value: 100 μg l-1 in the late 1950s). A diatom community similar to other deep subalpine lakes existed in the past, and was disrupted by the pollution events. Acute and long-term effects of Cu contamination were tracked by changes in three distinct groups of species around the sharp boundary corresponding to the onset of the pollution. These groups were respectively composed of: (1) Species quickly extirpated by the discharge, mostly belonging to Fragilaria and Cyclotella and never reappearing; (2) Species apparently not affected, or not immediately affected, by the pollution, showing no definite trends with time. Synedra species, with various deformities, were conspicuous among these; (3) Species with accumulation rates increasing with time irrespective of pollution, mostly belonging to Achnanthes. Properties and tolerances of these groups (e.g. Synedra and Achnanthes) are discussed in detail.
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