• 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.
    • A comparison between diatom inferred ph changes and diatom populations in brownwater and clearwater lakes

      Ciolfi, John.; Department of Biological Sciences (Brock University, 1983-07-09)
      The objective of this study was to determine whether clearwater and brownwater lakes differed in their rate of acidification as inferred by subfossil diatoms analyzed in recent downcore sediments. Differences between associations of diatom populations in brownwater and clearwater environments were characterized. Sediment cores were taken from four lakes located north and east of Lake Superior, near Wawa, Ontario. Two of these lakes were humicrich, brownwater lakes ( lakes U1 and CB2). The two other lakes were clearwater lakes ( lakes Xl and CF). The regression of Nygaard log index-alpha for surficial diatom sediments on observed pH ( Inferred pH = 6.57 - 0.82 log index-alpha ), was utilized to infer lake pH in recent sediments of these lakes. Upon analyzing the downcore diatoms, it was discovered that no significant change, in downcore diatom inferred pH, could be detected in the two brownwater lakes. In contrast, the two clearwater lakes showed significant shifts in downcore diatom inferred pH. In one of these lakes, pH had dropped from 5.3 to 4.5, in the top 9.0 cm of the core, while in the second lake, pH had dropped from 5.4 to 5.0 in the top 1.5 cm of the core. These findings suggested that humic substances, found in brownwater lakes, imparted a buffering capacity to these lake waters. In the clearwater lakes, the decrease in pH was very probably a consequence of acid precipitation. The Ambrosia rise ( circa 1890 ) occurred at the same depth in both brownwater lakes ( 11.0 - 12.0 cm). In both clearwater lakes, the Ambrosia rise occurred at a depth of 14.0 - 15.0 cm. This suggested a lower sedimentation rate in the brownwater lakes. pH influenced the total percentage composition of diatom pH indicator groups. Greater numbers of alkaliphilous taxa were found in less acidic lakes ( e.g. Lake Ul ), While greater numbers of acidloving forms were found in highly acidic lakes ( e.g. Lake Xl ). There was a greater abundance of indifferent forms in the brownwater lakes, than in the clearwater lakes. A number of diatom genera and species were found to be associated with either clearwater or brownwater conditions. The centric diatom, ~elosira distans, significantly increased in abundance in the recent sediments of both clearwater lakes. This may be indicating a shift toward a more oligotrophic state within these acidic, clearwater lakes. This study suggested that a pH index based on subfossil diatoms may be a sensitive indicator of changing lake pH. This study also indicated that humic substances may playa more important role, than previously acknowledged, in controlling the pH dynamics of lake waters, and in determining diatom populations.
    • The production of 4-adminobutyrate in response to treatments reducing cytosolic pH and the regulation of intracellular pH

      Crawford, Lesley A.; Department of Biological Sciences (Brock University, 1993-07-09)
      GABA (4-aminobutyrate) is synthesized through the decarboxylation of LGlu- (L-Glu-+ H+ ---> GABA + C02), and compared to many free amino acids is present in high concentrations in plant cells. GABA levels rise rapidly and dramatically in response to varied stress conditions including anaerobiosis. Recent papers suggest that GABA production and associated H+ consumption are parts of a metabolic pH-stat mechanism which ameliorates the intracellular pH decline associated with anaerobiosis or other treatments. To test this hypothesis GABA production and efflux have been measured in isolated Asparagus sprengeri cells in response to three treatments which potentially cause intracellular acidification. Acid loads were imposed using 60 min of (i) anaerobiosis, (ii) H+/LGlu- cotransport, and (iii) treatment with permeant weak acids (butyric, acetic and propionic). Both intra- and extracellular GABA concentrations increased more than 100% after anaerobiosis, almost 1000% after H+/L-Glu- cotransport (light or dark) and almost 5000/0 after addition of 5 mM butyric acid at pH 5.0. HPLC analysis of amino acids indicates that as GABA concentrations increased in response to butyric acid addition, glutamate concentrations decreased. Time-course studies demonstrated that added butyric acid stimulates GABA production by 2800/0 within 15 seconds. A fluorescent determination of cytosolic pH indicates that addition of butyric or other weak acids resulted in a rapid reduction in cytosolic pH of 0.6 pH units. The half time for the response to butyric acid addition is 2.1 seconds, indicating that the decline in cytosolic pH is rapid enough to account for the rapid stimulation of GABA production. The acid load in response to butyric acid addition was assayed by measurements of 14C-butyric acid uptake. Calculations indicate that GABA production accounted for 45% of the imposed acid load. The biological significance of GABA efflux is not yet understood. The results support the original hypothesis suggesting a role for GABA production in cellular pH regulation.
    • The regulation of oat coleoptile phosphoenolpyruvate carboxylase and malic enzyme by Hâ ½ and metabolites : kinetic evidence for and against a cytosolic pH-stat

      Smith, Ceredwyn Elizabeth.; Department of Biological Sciences (Brock University, 1979-07-09)
      Phosphoenolpyruvate carboxylase (PEPC) and malic enzyme activities in soluble protein extracts of Avena coleoptiles were investigated to determine whether their kinetics were consistent with a role in cytosol pH regulation. Malic enzyme activity was specific for NADP+ and Mn2+. Maximal labelled product formation from [14C]-substrates required the presence of all coenzymes, cofactors and substrates. Plots of rate versus malate concentration, and linear transformations there- 2 of, indicated typical Michaelis-Menten kinetics at non-saturating malate levels and substrate inhibition at higher malate levels. pH increases between 6.5 and 7.25 increased near-optimal activity, decreased the degree of substrate inhibition and the Kmapp(Mn2+) but did not affect the Vmax or Kmapp(malate). Transformed data of PEPC activity demonstrated non-linear plots indicative of non-Michaelian kinetics. pH increases between 7.0 and 7.6 increased the Vmax and decreased the Km app (Mg2+) but did not affect the Kmapp(PEP). Various carboxylic acids and phosphorylated sugars inhibited PEPC and malic enzyme activities, and these effects decreased with pH increases. Metabolite inhibited malic enzyme activity was non-competitive and resulted mainly from Mn2+ chelation. In contrast, metabolite inhibited PEPC activity was unique for each compound tested, being variously dependent on the PEP concentration and the pH employed. These results indicate that fluctuations in pH and metabolite levels affect PEPC and malic enzyme activities similarly and that 3 the in vitro properties of PEPC are consistent with its proposed role in a pH-stat, whereas the in vitro properties of the malic enzyme cannot be interpreted in terms of a role in pH regulation.
    • The utility of sedimentary diatoms as a measure of historical lake ph

      Dixit, Sushil Sharan.; Department of Biological Sciences (Brock University, 1983-07-09)
      As a result of increased acid precipitation, the pH of a large number of Canadian Shield lakes has been falling. Prior to this study there was no documentation available to explain the history of lake acidification for the Algoma area lakes. In order to obtain this information the diatom inferred pH technique was developed in this study. During two field seasons, July 1981 and July 1982, short sediment cores (circa 25-30 cm) were collected from 28 study lakes located north of Lake Superior, District Algoma, Ontario. The surface sediment diatoms (0-1 cm) from each of these lakes were carefully identified, enumerated, and classified in terms of their pH indicator status. The surface sediment diatom analysis indicated that lake pH is one of the most important factors affecting the species composition and relative abundance of diatom populations. Thus diatom assemblages can be sensitive indicators of lake acidification. When Nygaard's index alpha was plotted against observed lake pH, a statistically significant relationship resulted (r=-0.89; p=<O.OI). The index alpha regression equation was used to construct the pH histories of 4 lakes (lakes X4, CS, U3, and WI). The repeatability of this technique was confirmed by comparing two downcore paleo-pH profiles of Lake WI. These two paleo-pH profiles represented almost identical paleo-pH patterns for Lake WI. The paleo-pH study of Lake X4 revealed that the lake has been rather acidic (pH <5.6) for the last 200 years. It appears that the recent increase in acid precipitation 3 over the last 30 years has not altered the water pH compared to the lake's pH history. However, the paleo-pH study of another acidic lake (Lake CS) indicated that its pH has significantl}* dropped over the last 30 years . During this time the Lake CS pH has dropped almost 2 pH units (7.1 to 5.2). The other two lakes studied for downcore pH were circumneutral in nature . One of these lakes (Lake U3) displayed a relatively stable pH history while the other lake (Lake WI) displayed significant pH fluctuations over post-Ambrosia time. The variable pH history of Lake WI was probably associated with the Algoma sintering plant plume and forest fires. A significant relationship between surface sediment diatoms and observed lake pH and secondly a statistically significant relationship between index alpha and observed pH suggested that diatoms are one of the best indicators of lake pH. Thus diatom inferred pH technique has great potential in explaining the rate of lake acidification.