Open Access Repository

The Holocene palaeolimnology of Lake Fidler, a meromictic lake in the cool temperate rainforests of south west Tasmania

Hodgson, DA 1995 , 'The Holocene palaeolimnology of Lake Fidler, a meromictic lake in the cool temperate rainforests of south west Tasmania', PhD thesis, University of Tasmania.

PDF (Front matter)
front-Hodgson-t...pdf | Download (1MB)
Available under University of Tasmania Standard License.

PDF (Whole thesis)
whole-hodgson-t...pdf | Download (66MB)
Available under University of Tasmania Standard License.


Lake Fidler is situated adjacent to the lower Gordon River in the Franklin Lower Gordon Wild
Rivers National Park of south west Tasmania It is the only stable meromictic lake in cool
temperate rainforest in Australia and facets of its unique biology, phycology and limnology have
been abundantly published in over 20 scientific papers. This study uses palaeolimnological
techniques to place existing knowledge in the context of the long term history and evolution of
Lake Fidler. This has allowed an assessment of the impact of modifications to the hydro-dynamics
of the river, by a dam further upstream, on the declining meromictic stability of the lake. The study
comprises two parts. The first part describes the use of remote data loggers to monitor the hydrodynamics
of the lake and river and the ectogenic mechanism which maintains meromixis through
periodic incursions of brackish water. This has resulted in reconunendations for a management
strategy to prevent the further decay of meromixis. The second part, a palaeolimnological study,
reconstructs the history of meromixis and the palaeoecology of the lower Gordon River region. A
17 metre sediment core, datmg back 8000 years, was analysed for fossil diatoms and pigments.
Fossil diatoms provided specific information on the genesis of the lake from a brackish riverine
backwater to an autonomous meromictic lake with a fresh water mixolinmion dominated by
Cyclotella stelligera. The ultimate stability of this freshwater mixolimnetic assemblage is
interpreted as the time at which the lake became permanently stratified. The development of
biological communities associated with meromixis was also studied using fossil pigments. The
most diagnostic pigments were the bacteriochlorophylls of the anaerobic green phototrophic
sulphur bacteria, Chlorobium limicola and Chlorochromatium aggregatum, which obligately
require the conditions of the chemocline to maintain their abundance. The establishment of these
organisms concomitant with the development of permanent stratification also confirms the onset of
meromictic conditions. The palaeolimnological studies, in tandem with studies of fossil pollen,
have additionally provided information on the Holocene palaeoecology and palaeoclimatology of
south west Tasmania during the later phases of Aboriginal occupation. This included the possible
evolution of a wanner and wetter climate and the development of a mature cool temperate
rainforest in floristic refugia that have remained undisturbed since the last ice age.

Item Type: Thesis - PhD
Authors/Creators:Hodgson, DA
Additional Information:

The University is continuing to endeavour to trace the copyright owner(s) and in the meantime this item has been reproduced here in good faith. We would be pleased to hear from the copyright owner(s) - Copyright the Author

Item Statistics: View statistics for this item

Actions (login required)

Item Control Page Item Control Page