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Water 2016, 8(11), 479; doi:10.3390/w8110479

Mid-Infrared Spectroscopy as a Potential Tool for Reconstructing Lake Salinity

1
Department of Geography, University of Portsmouth, Portsmouth PO1 3HE, UK
2
Geography, Environment and Population and Sprigg Geobiology Centre, University of Adelaide, Adelaide SA 5005, Australia
3
CSIRO Land and Water, Urrbrae SA 5064, Australia
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Maria Filomena Camões
Received: 29 June 2016 / Revised: 22 September 2016 / Accepted: 10 October 2016 / Published: 26 October 2016
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Abstract

Many aquatic ecosystems in Australia are impacted or threatened by salinisation; however, there is a paucity of records detailing the changes in salinity of individual water bodies that extend beyond a few decades. One way to overcome this issue is the use of inference models, which have typically been based on biological proxies. This pilot project investigates the potential for mid-infrared spectroscopy (MIRS) to provide an alternative method of reconstructing past salinity levels in Australian lakes. A small (19 lakes) calibration dataset was used to develop a MIRS-based lake water salinity inference model (measured vs. inferred salinity, based on leave-one-out cross-validation, R2 = 0.64). This model and a previously published diatom–salinity model were both used to infer salinity levels in Tower Hill Lake in south-eastern Australia, over the last 60 years. Comparisons between these reconstructions and measured salinity data from Tower Hill Lake indicate that salinities inferred by the MIRS model more closely resembled the measured values than those produced using the diatom model, predominantly in terms of the actual values inferred, but also with regard to the trends observed. This supports the hypothesis that MIRS can provide a valuable new tool for reconstructing lake salinity. View Full-Text
Keywords: salinity; lake sediments; southern Australia; palaeolimnology; infrared spectroscopy; diatoms; palaeoecology salinity; lake sediments; southern Australia; palaeolimnology; infrared spectroscopy; diatoms; palaeoecology
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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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MDPI and ACS Style

Cunningham, L.; Tibby, J.; Forrester, S.; Barr, C.; Skjemstad, J. Mid-Infrared Spectroscopy as a Potential Tool for Reconstructing Lake Salinity. Water 2016, 8, 479.

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