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Title: Multiproxy reconstructions of recent environmental change : understanding the ecological response of shallow lakes within the Selenga River basin, southeast Siberia, to anthropogenic and natural disturbances
Author: Adams, Jennifer Karen
Awarding Body: UCL (University College London)
Current Institution: University College London (University of London)
Date of Award: 2017
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Floodplain delta wetlands are highly productive and critical ecosystems between terrestrial uplands and large, aquatic systems. The largest inland freshwater floodplain delta in the world is the Selenga Delta. The Selenga Delta serves a crucial function between UNESCO World Heritage Site Lake Baikal, and the lake’s primary inflow, the Selenga River, and its tributaries. The Selenga River flows approximately 950 km through northern Mongolia and southern Siberia prior to reaching the Selenga Delta, and within the Selenga River basin, numerous anthropogenic activities, including industry, urban settlements, agriculture, and mining, have the potential to cause ecological damage to the Selenga River and its tributaries. The aims of this thesis were to assess the extent of current and historical contamination in Selenga River basin shallow lakes, investigate the primary environmental drivers of variability in ecological structure and function of shallow lakes within the basin, and understand the ecological responses and sensitivity to disturbance. Multiproxy palaeolimnological investigstions of three shallow lakes with the Selenga River basin (two from within the Selenga Delta and one from a more heavily industrialized region), were chosen to undertake a multiproxy palaeolimnological approach to addressing these aims. Investigations on shallow lakes across the Selenga Delta revealed that variability and composition of contemporary ecological communities are determined by degree of connectivity, trophic interactions, and physical landscape parameters such as lake surface area and depth. The greatest period of contamination of shallow lakes (by trace metals and persistent organic pollutants) occurred in the mid-20th century, closely linked with periods of economic development in Russia. However the main drivers of ecological variability since the 19th century have been natural and anthropogenically-induced changes in hydrological regimes, and nutrient pollution, which resulted in significant ecological shifts across multiple trophic levels in shallow lakes.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available