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Isotopic analyses of predatory pelagic fishes show significant environmental change in Lake Ontario following European settlement

Author(s): Eric Guiry ; Suzanne Needs-Howarth ; Paul Szpak ; Michale Richards

Year: 2017

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Summary

Isotopic analyses of archaeological faunal remains can add significant temporal depth to modern and historical baseline data, which play an important role in understanding present and future environmental change. In this paper, we use stable nitrogen isotope analyses of archaeological

(A.D. 1000-1900) bone collagen of pelagic predators, such as lake trout (Salvelinus namaycush) and whitefishes (Coregonus sp.), as a proxy measure for environmental changes in Lake Ontario over time. Results show a significant enrichment in heavy 15N in the freshwater nitrogen cycle of Lake Ontario during the nineteenth century, likely linked to human-induced changes in the lake’s nutrient and trophic structures. These findings provide a new baseline for modern ecological restoration work and give fresh insights into the broader environmental context for the impact of European settlement on the Great Lakes region.


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Isotopic analyses of predatory pelagic fishes show significant environmental change in Lake Ontario following European settlement. Eric Guiry, Suzanne Needs-Howarth, Paul Szpak, Michale Richards. Presented at The 81st Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Vancouver, British Columbia. 2017 ( tDAR id: 429928)


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Spatial Coverage

min long: -80.815; min lat: 39.3 ; max long: -66.753; max lat: 47.398 ;

Record Identifiers

Abstract Id(s): 14744

Arizona State University The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation National Science Foundation National Endowment for the Humanities Society for American Archaeology Archaeological Institute of America