Deforestation caused abrupt shift in Great Lakes nitrogen cycle

  title={Deforestation caused abrupt shift in Great Lakes nitrogen cycle},
  author={Eric J. Guiry and Michael Buckley and Trevor J. Orchard and Alicia L. Hawkins and Suzanne Julia Needs-Howarth and Erling Dokk Holm and Paul Szpak},
  journal={Limnology and Oceanography},
Despite the longstanding significance of North America's Great Lakes, little is known about their preindustrial ecology. Here, we report on when and how humans first became a main driver of Lake Ontario's nutrient dynamics. Nitrogen isotope analyses of archaeological fish show that, prior to the 1830s, Lake Ontario's nitrogen cycle and the trophic ecology of its top predators had remained stable for at least 800 yrs, despite Indigenous and historical European agricultural land management across… 

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Chemical data compiled from a number of sources indicate a progressive increase in the concentrations of various major ions and total dissolved solids in all of the lakes except Lake Superior, indicating accelerated eutrophication in the Great Lakes due to man’s activity.


Lakes Huron, Michigan, and Superior are classified as oligotrophic lakes on the basis of their biological, chemical, and physical characteristics. Lake Ontario, although rich in nutrients, is