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Abstract

Recent studies illustrate the potential of dinoflagellates as palaeolimnological proxies using a combined phycological and palynological approach, relating the stratigraphic and biogeographic distribution of cysts attributed to several species of Peridinium to environmental conditions in lakes with documented anthropogenic impact. Cultural eutrophication associated with both indigenous and Euro-Canadian settlement at various sites in the Great Lakes region of Ontario is expressed by a sharp increase in dinocyst abundance and a decline in Peridinium wisconsinense Eddy relative to species better adapted to eutrophic conditions. Total concentrations exceeded 46 000 cysts/mL in varved sediments deposited when Crawford Lake was impacted by Iroquois agriculture in the 13–15th century, even higher than the peak concentrations of nearly 36 × 103 cysts/mL associated with Euro-Canadian logging and agriculture. Most of these cysts were attributed to Peridinium inconspicuum Lemmermann and Peridinium volzii Lemmermann, whose cysts have not previously been reported in other palynological studies from this region. The lack of reports of these cysts elsewhere may reflect exceptional preservation of cysts and thecae in Crawford Lake, or the failure of palynologists to notice these relatively small, nondescript cysts and recognize their affinity.

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