Environmental Change Reconstruction Laboratory

...all that happens today is the product of what happened yesterday.


Another year has passed. We celebrated the 4th anniversary of our lab in the garden with a barbecue. This time we listened to sounds from Africa.


New paper has been published in Journal of Volcanology and Geothermal Research presenting results of recent cryptotephra findings in northeast Poland. Gosia Kinder and co-authors report about traces of three largescale, late Holocene eruptions from European and Northern American volcanoes: the White River Ash eastern lobe(WRAe) eruption fromMount Churchill, Alaska (833–850 CE); a tentative finding of the Glen Garry eruption of the Askja volcano, Iceland (1966–2210 cal a BP); and an yet undefined eruption from Furnas volcano, Azores. Volcanic glass shards were found in the sediments of Lake Żabińskie using precise varve chronology and EPMA glass chemical data. All three cryptotephra findings represent their easternmost occurrences from the volcanic source and hence considerably extend existing tephra dispersal maps.

This study was done in the frame of the NCN project “Tracking cryptotephra: toward developing a tool for precise stratigraphic correlation of lacustrine records in northern Poland (TEPHRA)” led by Gosia Kinder in cooperation with Sabine Wulf from the University of Portsmouth. Happy reading!

Kinder M., Wulf S., Appelt O., Hardiman M., Żarczyński M., Tylmann W. 2020. Late-Holocene ultra-distal cryptotephra discoveries in varved sediments of Lake Żabińskie, NE Poland. Journal of Volcanology and Geothermal Research, 402, 106988. DOI 10.1016/j.jvolgeores.2020.106988. LINK


New paper has been published in Water (MDPI) about recent history of Lake Sekšu in Lavia. Between 1953 and 1965, the lake received replenishment water from another eutrophic lake through a pipe. A multi-proxy (pollen, Cladocera, diatoms, and Chironomidae) approach was applied alongside a quantitative reconstructions of total phosphorus and hypolimnetic dissolved oxygen to show the ecosystem change. The results demonstrated significant shift in the lake community’s structure, sediment composition, redox conditions due to increased eutrophication, water level fluctuations, and erosion. This study was done in a cooperation with colleagues from Latvia, Finland, Norway, and Poland. Happy reading!

Zawiska I., Dimante-Deimantovica I., Luoto T.P., Rzodkiewicz M., Saarni S., Stivrins N., Tylmann W., Lanka A., Robeznieks M., Jilbert T. 2020 . Long-Term Consequences of Water Pumping on the Ecosystem Functioning of Lake Sekšu, Latvia. Water, 12, 1459. DOI 10.3390/w12051459. LINK


The printed book of the Quaternary Special Issue “Annually Laminated Lake Sediments” has been published. This is a collection of papers presenting recent progress for different directions in varved sediment research. The diversity of papers includes different methods and applied techniques, as well as different lake settings and geographical locations.
The initiative for this Special Issue emerged from activities of the Past Global Changes (PAGES) Varve Working Group that was established to coordinate activities leading to methodological developments, setting quality standards for varve chronologies, data management and processing, as well as integration with other high-resolution environmental archives.

Tylmann W., Zolitschka B. (eds.) 2020 Annually Laminated Lake Sediments. MDPI, Basel, Switzerland. DOI 10.3390/books978-3-03928-787-1. LINK


New paper has been published in Toxins (MDPI) about the allelopathic activity of freshwater picocyanobacterium Synechococcus sp. on phytoplankton assemblages from three Masurian lakes (Żabińskie, Łazduny, Rzęśniki). The experimental results indicate that addition of exudates obtained from Synechococcus sp. affects the number of cells and biomass of the phytoplankton communities. In this study, Iwona Bubak and co-authors demonstrate that the allelopathic activity exhibited by the Synechococcus sp. is probably one of the major competitive strategies affecting some of the coexisting phytoplankton species in freshwater ecosystems. Happy reading!

Bubak I., Śliwińska-Wilczewska S., Głowacka P., Szczerba A., Możdżeń K. 2020 The Importance of Allelopathic Picocyanobacterium Synechococcus sp. on the Abundance, Biomass Formation, and Structure of Phytoplankton Assemblages in Three Freshwater Lakes. Toxins, 12, 259. DOI 10.3390/toxins12040259. LINK


Another paper about Lake Żabińskie has been published in Geochronology (EGU journal). In this publication, Paul Zander and co-authors compare the reliability and precision of radiocarbon dating using two different techniques (gas-source input and conventional AMS dating of graphitized samples). The simulated age–depth models suggest that the lower analytical precision associated with miniature samples can be compensated for by increased dating density. This is importnat conclusion that can be useful in planning sampling strategies for dating of lacustrine sediment cores. Happy reading!

Zander P.D., Szidat S., Kaufman D.S., Żarczyński M., Poraj-Górska A.I., Boltshauser-Kaltenrieder P., Grosjean M. 2020 Miniature radiocarbon measurements (< 150 μg C) from sediments of Lake Żabińskie, Poland: effect of precision and dating density on age–depth models. Geochronology, 2, 63-79. DOI 10.5194/gchron-2-63-2020 LINK


New paper about the impact of climate change on primary production and phytoplankton composition in the Spitsbergen fjords has just been published in Global and Planetary Change. In this publication, we investigated sediment cores from four locations along western Spitsbergen coast. Our data show that the impact of global warming on primary production and phytoplankton taxonomic composition is observed even in the most northern parts of Spitsbergen. Higher primary production is linked to more intense warm Atlantic Water inflow. Happy reading!

Krajewska M., Szymczak-Żyła M., Tylmann W., Kowalewska G. 2020 Climate change impact on primary production and phytoplankton taxonomy in Western Spitsbergen fjords based on pigments in sediments. Global and Planetary Change. DOI 10.1016/j.gloplacha.2020.103158. LINK


On Thursday December 12th, Dr. Iwona Bubak from the University of Gdańsk delivered a talk about phytoplankton monitoring in Lake Żabińskie. The topic was very close to the project “Tracking climate signals preserved in lake sediments from integrated process studies and ultra high-resolution analysis of annually laminated sediments” which has been implemented in our laboratory.


Ala Bonk has just joined our team. She will be working on the project “Investigating fire history in Poland over the last 2000 years using annually laminated lake sediments” funded by the Nacional Science Centre in the frame of the SONATINA call. The project aims at examining the long-term interactions among fire, climate, vegetation and human activity to determine the drivers of fire regimes and their changes over the last 2000 years. We are happy to see Ala back in our team after a couple of years. Good luck!


Gosia Kinder has been a post-doc in her project “Tracking cryptotephra: toward developing a tool for precise stratigraphic correlation of lacustrine records in northern Poland (TEPHRA)”. The publications presenting results of this exciting research are currently under review or in preparation. Gosia did a great job during last three years looking for single glass shards in varved sediment cores. Although her formal contract expired, Gosia will still cooperate with us to complete all issues related to her project. Currently, Gosia is working at the central administration of Gdansk University in the section of scientific projects. All the best in your new work.

Gosia sitting by the microscope. We will miss you greatly.


New paper about the sedimentological and geochemical characteristics of sediments from Lake Szurpiły has just been published in Quaternary Research. In this publication, we identified mass movement deposits (MMDs) of different origin, e.g. mobilization of slope sediments related to climatic conditions, seismic activity or permafrost degradation. Furthermore, analysis of varve-thickness variability suggests Gleissberg and Suess solar cycles before 850 BC, when human impact was limited. Additionally, 22 and 11 yr sunspot cycles are recognized in light/dark laminae-thickness ratios and reflect influences of solar irradiance on lacustrine productivity. Happy reading!

Kinder M., Tylmann W., Rzeszewski M., Zolitschka B. 2019 Varves and mass-movement deposits record distinctly different sedimentation dynamics since the late glacial (Lake Szurpiły, northeastern Poland). Quaternary Research. DOI 10.1017/qua.2019.61. LINK


New paper about last millennium history of human impacts in Scandinavia has just been published in Journal of Paleolimnology. In this publication, we conducted a paleolimnological study to examine how changes in human activity interacted with climate to influence productivity and biodiversity in oligotrophic Lake Atnsjøen, SE Norway. The study included analyses of sediment geochemistry, subfossil diatoms and cladocerans, and macrofossils. Results were compared with the historical record of human activities in the catchment, pollen analysis and paleoclimate inferences from the lake. Happy reading!

Jensen T., Zawiska I., Oksman M., Słowiński M., Woszczyk M., Luoto T.P., Tylmann W., Nevalainen L., Obrembska M., Schartau A.K., Walseng B. 2019 Historical human impact on productivity and biodiversity in a subalpine oligotrophic lake in Scandinavia. Journal of Paleolimnology. DOI 10.1007/s10933-019-00100-5. LINK


On Thursday November 21st, Prof. Karina Apolinarska from Adam Mickiewicz University in Poznań delivered a talk about modern deposition of laminated sediments in Lake Kierskie based on limnological monitoring and sediment trap studies. It was exciting to compare our experiences with sediment trapping because the topic was very close to the major research issue of our laboratory. Very interesting results will be soon published in Journal of Paleolimnology.


During the last two weeks, our laboratory hosted two PhD students from the University of Bern. Giulia Wienhues and Paul Zander joined the fieldwork in the Mazurian Lakeland where we collected samples from sediment traps and retrieved short sediment cores. Their stay at our lab was also dedicated to Pb-210 dating of the sediment cores from Lake Victoria. The work was carried out under the projects “Exploring VNIR / SWIR Hyperspectral Imaging of Varied Lake Sediments: Methods and Applications” and “20,000 years of evolution and ecosystem dynamics in the world’s largest tropical lake reconstructed from sediment cores, fossils and ancient DNA” funded by SNF. Within these projects we cooperate with Prof. Martin Grosjean from Bern University.


On Thursday October 24th, Paul Zander from the University of Bern (Switzerland) delivered a talk about his research project in Alaska with a group of Prof. Darrell Kaufman. The presentation “Tephrochronology and paleoenvironmental change during the past 15,000 years from Whitshed Lakes, south-central Alaska” was about synchronicity of environmental change records from two small lakes located in the same region. Paul is also working with our lab on the sediments of Lake Żabińskie.