Gregory-Eaves Lab

Identifying and applying new approaches to infer past ecological changes from lake sediment archives


Paleolimnology not only provides information on past environmental change (e.g., shifts in pH), it also offers key insights into biodiversity dynamics because community-level changes can be analysed over a broader network of sites and over longer time series than is possible with classical long-term ecological research programs. My lab group has demonstrated how sediment records can answer questions related to the response of biodiversity to stressors (Velghe et al. 2012), as well as ecosystem functioning (Gregory-Eaves and Beisner 2011) and metacommunity dynamics (Winegardner et al. in revision). The sediment record is not a complete representation of modern communities; however, by using diatoms, we have demonstrated that models considering environmental and spatial structuring of assemblages from the water column or surface sediments are significantly coherent (Winegardner et al. 2015). The potential of paleolimnology is also expanding through studies of DNA preserved in lake sediments, allowing us to study the long-term dynamics of a much broader range of organisms (Domaizon et al. in revision). To develop greater insight into the potential and challenges associated with analyzing DNA from protists preserved in sediment cores, my group has been collaborating with DFO (at Cultus Lake in BC) for several years to develop a time series of water column and sediment trap samples which we are analysing using classical limnological and environmental DNA analyses.

Last update: Oct. 27, 2016