Skip to main content

Thank you for visiting nature.com. You are using a browser version with limited support for CSS. To obtain the best experience, we recommend you use a more up to date browser (or turn off compatibility mode in Internet Explorer). In the meantime, to ensure continued support, we are displaying the site without styles and JavaScript.

  • Letter
  • Published:

Diatom evidence for recent acidification of two Scottish lochs

Abstract

Claims that highly acid (pH <5.0), often fishless lakes have become so as a result of recent (mainly twentieth century) acidification processes have not been fully validated because there are few acid lakes that have been the subject of long-term continuous monitoring. However, diatom analysis of 210Pb-dated sediment cores can provide the detailed historical perspective required. Here we use these techniques to show that some lakes in the UK have become strongly acidified within the past 130 yr. Analysis of cores from two lakes in Galloway, south-west Scotland, indicate that both lakes, one with an unafforested catchment and one with a recently afforested catchment, have experienced pH declines of approximately 1 pH unit (from pH 5.5 to 4.5) during this time.

This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution

Access options

Buy this article

Prices may be subject to local taxes which are calculated during checkout

Similar content being viewed by others

References

  1. Jensen, K. W. & Snekvik, E. Ambio 1, 223–225 (1972).

    Google Scholar 

  2. Almer, B., Dickson, W., Ekström, C., Hörnström, E. & Miller, U. Ambio 3, 330–336 (1974).

    Google Scholar 

  3. Beamish, R. J. & Harvey, H. H. J. Fish. Res. Can. 29, 1131–1143 (1972).

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  4. van Dam, H., Survmond, G. & ter Braak, C. J. F. Hydrobiologia 83, 425–459 (1982).

    Article  Google Scholar 

  5. Schofield, C. L. Ambio 5, 228–230 (1976).

    Google Scholar 

  6. Vangenechten, J. H. D. Arch. Hydrobiol. 90, 265–283 (1980).

    CAS  Google Scholar 

  7. Wright, R. F. Water Qual. Bull. (in the press).

  8. Tolonen, K. & Jaakkola, T. Ann. Bot. Fennici 20, 57–78 (1983).

    CAS  Google Scholar 

  9. Gortham, E. Geochim. cosmochim. Acta 7, 231–239 (1955).

    Article  ADS  Google Scholar 

  10. Gorham, E. Phil. Trans. R. Soc. B247, 147–178 (1958).

    Google Scholar 

  11. Barrett, C. F. et al. Acidity of Rainfall in the United Kingdom—a Preliminary Report (Warren Spring Laboratory, Stevenage, 1982).

    Google Scholar 

  12. Sutcliffe, D. W. & Carrick, R. T. Freshwat. Biol. 3, 437–462 (1973).

    Article  Google Scholar 

  13. Gorham, E. J. Ecol. 44, 142–152 (1956).

    Article  Google Scholar 

  14. Harriman, R. & Morrisson, B. R. S. Hydrobiologia 88, 251–263 (1982).

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  15. Sutcliffe, D. W. et al. Freshwat. Biol. 12, 451–506 (1982).

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  16. Wright, R. F. & Henricksen, A. Regional Survey of Lakes and Streams in Southwestern Scotland (SNSF project IR 72/80, 1980).

    Google Scholar 

  17. Harriman, R., Morrison, B. R. S., Caines, L. A., Collen, P. & Watt, A. W. Freshwat. Biol. (in the press).

  18. Nilsson, S. I., Miller, H. G. & Miller, J. D. Oikos 39, 40–49 (1982).

    Article  Google Scholar 

  19. Rosenquist, I. T. Sci. Tot. Envir. 10, 39–49 (1978).

    Article  Google Scholar 

  20. Pennington, W. Hydrobiologia 79, 197–219 (1981).

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  21. Nygaard, G. Fol. Limnol. Scand. 8, 32–94 (1956).

    Google Scholar 

  22. Meriläinen J. Ann. Bot. Fenn. 4, 51–58 (1967).

    Google Scholar 

  23. Davis, R. B. & Berge, F. in Proc. int. Conf. Ecol. Impact Acid Precip. (eds Drablos, D. & Tollan, A.) 270–271 (Sandefjord, Norway, 1980).

    Google Scholar 

  24. Renberg, I. & Hellberg, T. Ambio 11, 30–33 (1982).

    Google Scholar 

  25. Häsänen, E. Radiochem. Radioanalyt. Lett. 31, 207–214 (1977).

    Google Scholar 

  26. Oldfield, F., Appleby, P. G. & Battarbee, R. W. Nature 271, 339–342 (1978).

    Article  ADS  CAS  Google Scholar 

  27. Appleby, P. G. & Oldfield, F. Catena 5, 1–8 (1978).

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  28. Battarbee, R. W. in Palaeohydrological Changes in the Temperate Zone in the past 15,000 yr (ed. Berglund, B. E.) (IGCP Project 158, 1979).

    Google Scholar 

Download references

Author information

Authors and Affiliations

Authors

Rights and permissions

Reprints and permissions

About this article

Cite this article

Flower, R., Battarbee, R. Diatom evidence for recent acidification of two Scottish lochs. Nature 305, 130–133 (1983). https://doi.org/10.1038/305130a0

Download citation

  • Received:

  • Accepted:

  • Issue Date:

  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1038/305130a0

This article is cited by

Comments

By submitting a comment you agree to abide by our Terms and Community Guidelines. If you find something abusive or that does not comply with our terms or guidelines please flag it as inappropriate.

Search

Quick links

Nature Briefing

Sign up for the Nature Briefing newsletter — what matters in science, free to your inbox daily.

Get the most important science stories of the day, free in your inbox. Sign up for Nature Briefing