The response of lakes to climate change and anthropogenic activity in the North Frontenac/Addington Highlands Region, Ontario
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Climate change and anthropogenic activities have been known to change the rate of productivity and physical characteristics of temperate lakes. This paleolimnologcial study examines the effect of recent climate change and watershed land-usage activities in nine lakes in the North Frontenac/Addington Highlands region of Ontario, and aims to predict future lake changes based on recent trends. Despite this region being identified as an area highly susceptible to the effects of climate change, no scientific studies have examined the effects of these changes on lakes of the region. Lake sediment analysis for chlorophyll-a concentration, and organic carbon and nitrogen deposition indicate that production has increased in the majority of study lakes in the approximate past century. Water column sampling for dissolved oxygen concentration, temperature, conductivity, and turbidity found the majority of lakes to be thermally stratified and hypoxic in the bottom waters during the ice-covered and ice-free seasons. Climate records also indicate mean annual air temperatures have been increasing since the early 20th century. It was concluded that climate change is increasing production in the lakes of the North Frontenac/Addington Highlands region, and that future increases may increase the zone of hypoxia within the study lakes, or cause anoxia in the lakes. Additionally, it was also found that individual watershed land-usage events (i.e. logging, road construction) affected some of the study lakes, and possibly amplified the increase in production found in some. These findings assist in developing future lake mitigation methods, and preventing future increases in productivity.