Anthropogenic activities that introduce an excess of nutrients and other pollutants into rivers and lakes are causing significant changes in their aquatic environment. Excessive nutrients greatly accelerate eutrophication, and lake marl formed during eutrophication differs from that formed in oligotrophic water.
We analyzed recent sediment cores from Prošće and Kozjak lakes located in Plitvice National Park, central Croatia. Analyses consisted of 14C activity of calcareous lake marl, the ratio of stable isotopes (δ13C, δ18O), organic compounds in the sediment and the distribution of diatoms. Previous 14C activity measurements helped to determine the sedimentation rate and thus the time period of increased input of nutrients into lakes. We determined the increased 14C activity in lake sediments caused by nuclear bomb effect in recent depth profiles. We attributed the sudden increase in diatom species, Cyclotella operculata unipuctata and Achnanthes clevei rostrata, in the uppermost 5-cm layer, to eutrophication of the lake water.
We performed a molecular characterization of hydrocarbons isolated from the sediments, and applied computer-assisted high-resolution gas chromatography/mass spectrometry to estimate contributions of biogenic, fossil and pyrolytic hydrocarbons.