• A comparative study of the change in diatom inferred ph of a staircase of lakes in the Algoma District, Northern Ontario /

      Yung, Ying-kit.; Department of Biological Sciences (Brock University, 1983-06-09)
      Four staircase lakes occupying a single watershed located in the Algoma District, north of Lake Superior were chosen for this study. I examined the subfossil diatom assemblage in the top twenty centimeters of the surface sediments in each of these four lakes in an attempt to reconstruct their respective past pH history. From these analyses it was possible to test the hypothesis that the rate of change of diatom inferred pH was not significantly different in lakes located one below the other in a single "staircase" within a single watershed system. My results indicated that the four Z lakes had been acid for at least the last century. The water color of the three upper Z lakes (Z1, Z2 and Z3) was brown (>30 Pt Co units). The bottom lake (Z4) was the only clear water lake in the system «5 Pt Co units). This bottom staircase lake had no muskeg development around its shoreline. The alkaliphilous diatoms in the Z watershed system were important in determining the diatom inferred pH of the four Z lakes. The centric diatoms were extremely rare in the clearwater bottom lake (Z4). The ecology of the Eupodiscales is perhaps important in the interpretation of sediment in the more acid environment. Lake Z4 was the only one that had a progressive as well as a significant decrease in its downcore diatom inferred pH since the early 1960's. This lead me to speculate that the humic substances present in the upper three brown water lakes (Z1, Z2 and Z3) were perhaps Important in buffering them against a further decrease in water pH even though they were located within an area which was sensitive to acid precipitation.