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We have identified a total of 56 chrysophycean stomatocyst morphotypes from the postglacial sediments of Elk Lake, Minnesota. Cysts were well preserved and abundant throughout the lake’s history. Stratigraphic changes in the 22 dominant cysts were correlated with other paleoecological information available for this core. In general, shifts in chrysophyte assemblages coincided with inferred changes in past climate. The most striking change in chrysophytes occurred about 8.5 ka, and coincided with the shift to prairie-vegetation dominance in the lake’s drainage basin. The relative proportion of chrysophycean stomatocysts to diatom frustules also decreased at that time. A second major shift occurred about 5.3 ka, with the return of a chrysophyte assemblage resembling, in some respects, the early postglacial flora. Stratigraphic analyses at decade resolution recorded more recent changes in cyst assemblages that presumably track climatic variables. The relative abundance of chrysophytes appeared to be exceptionally high (values of about 40%–80%) during the Little Ice Age.

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