A 1100-year multi-proxy palaeoenvironmental record from Lake Höglwörth, Bavaria, Germany

Acharya, Sudip; Prochnow, Maximilian; Kasper, Thomas; Langhans, Linda; Frenzel, Peter; Strobel, Paul; Bliedtner, Marcel; Daut, Gerhard; Berndt, Christopher; Szidat, Sönke; Salazar, Gary; Schwalb, Antje; Zech, Roland (2023). A 1100-year multi-proxy palaeoenvironmental record from Lake Höglwörth, Bavaria, Germany. E&G quaternary science journal, 72(2), pp. 219-234. Copernicus Publications 10.5194/egqsj-72-219-2023

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Anthropogenic activities have exerted strong influence on ecosystems worldwide, particularly since 1950 CE. The local impact of past human activities often started much earlier and deserves detailed study. Here, we present an environmental record from a 278 cm long sedimentary core from
Lake Höglwörth (Bavaria, Germany). Sedimentological and geochemical parameters indicate that the organic-rich bottom sediments of the record consist of peat that formed prior to 870+140-160 CE, when lake sediments started to accumulate. After 870+140-160 CE, distinct shifts in lithology, elemental composition, and the biological record are visible and are interpreted to result from the construction of a monastery on the lake peninsula in 1125 CE and/or the damming of the lake. From 1120±120 to 1240+110-120 CE, the lake environment was relatively stable. This period was followed by enhanced
deforestation that led to a more open landscape and soil erosion, visible in increased allochthonous input from 1240+110-120 to 1380+90-110 CE. This was accompanied by high aquatic productivity and bottom or interstitial water anoxia from 1310+100-120 to 1470+90-100 CE, possibly triggered by increased nutrient availability. Enhanced allochthonous input and a substantial shift in the aquatic community can be assigned to the construction of a flour mill and related rerouting of a small creek in 1701 CE. High aquatic productivity and bottom or interstitial water anoxia after 1960±10 CE correspond to recent eutrophication resulting from accelerated local anthropogenic activities. The sedimentary record from Lake Höglwörth exemplarily demonstrates that anthropogenic activities have had substantial environmental impacts on aquatic environments during the past millennium.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)


10 Strategic Research Centers > Oeschger Centre for Climate Change Research (OCCR)
08 Faculty of Science > Department of Chemistry, Biochemistry and Pharmaceutical Sciences (DCBP)

UniBE Contributor:

Szidat, Sönke, Salazar Quintero, Gary Abdiel


500 Science > 570 Life sciences; biology
500 Science > 540 Chemistry




Copernicus Publications




Sönke Szidat

Date Deposited:

15 Nov 2023 06:52

Last Modified:

15 Nov 2023 06:52

Publisher DOI:






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