Reavie ED. 2019. Paleolimnology supports aquatic management by providing early warnings of stressor impacts. Lake Reserv Manage. 36:210–217. Recent, abrupt transitions to undesirable states have emerged as a common phenomenon in aquatic systems. Anthropogenic drivers such as climate change, species invasions, and pollution can push an aquatic system past a critical threshold for preservation of ecosystem services, resulting in a new condition. Recognizing these transitions is important for management because ecosystem function or services are typically altered or lost. A lack of aquatic monitoring data makes predictions about future conditions difficult. Evidence from sedimentary records can provide a replacement for these missing data. Paleolimnology is a valuable tool for management of aquatic systems because it can provide detailed records of recent changes that may serve as an early warning of future degradation if stressors remain unchecked. This review provides several examples of ways imminent environmental problems can be forecast using a variety of sedimentary indicators, including diatoms, pigments, aquatic insects, and the remains of invasive zooplankton. Using a case example of recent eutrophication, I recommend modeling approaches to make future projections of conditions to support aquatic management.
- Early warning
- future scenarios