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Hofmann, Andrea M.; Kuefner, Wolfgang; Mayr, Christoph; Dubois, Nathalie; Geist, Jürgen and Raeder, Uta (2021): Unravelling climate change impacts from other anthropogenic influences in a subalpine lake: a multi-proxy sediment study from Oberer Soiernsee (Northern Alps, Germany). In: Hydrobiologia, Vol. 848, No. 18: pp. 4285-4309

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Mountain lakes are increasingly impacted by a series of both local and global disturbances. The present study reveals the eutrophication history of a remote subalpine lake (Oberer Soiernsee, Northern Alps, Germany), triggered by deforestation, alpine pasturing, hut construction, tourism and atmospheric deposition, and identifies the intertwined consequences of on-going global warming on the lake's ecosystem. The primary objective was to disentangle the various direct and indirect impacts of these multiple stressors via down-core analyses. Our multi-proxy approach included subfossil diatom assemblages, carbon and nitrogen stable isotope ratios and subfossil pigments from dated sediments. Shifts within the diatom assemblages were related to variations in trophic state, lake transparency, water temperature and thermal stratification. The organic carbon isotope (delta C-13(org)) records, the diatom valve density and the pigment concentrations documented the development of primary production and composition. Total nitrogen isotope values (delta N-15) are more likely to reflect the history of atmospheric nitrogen pollution than lake-internal processes, also mirrored by the decoupling of delta N-15 and delta C-13(org) trends. The composition of sedimentary pigments allowed a differentiation between planktonic and benthic primary production. Concordant trends of all indicators suggested that the lake ecosystem passed a climatic threshold promoted by local and long-distance atmospheric nutrient loadings.

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