Thecamoebians (testate protozoan) were examined in 18 surface sediment samples from the North and South basins and the Narrows of Lake Winnipeg, Manitoba. Significantly higher numbers of thecamoebians and tintinnids in the North Basin compared to the Narrows and South Basin are attributed to the effects of urban development around the South Basin of Lake Winnipeg. Human population growth in this area has led to increased nutrient concentration in runoff, causing eutrophication of the southern lake, which in turn allows for increased algal productivity. Cucurbitella tricuspis is found in large abundances in the South Basin, particularly close to the inlet of the Red and Assiniboine rivers. High abundances of this species have been attributed to eutrophic conditions, which this species appears to withstand more successfully than other species. Increases in domestic waste output, that have led to elevated heavy metal concentrations in lake bottom sediments of the South Basin, may have resulted in lower abundances of thecamoebians, further reducing competition. Strong currents in the Narrows cause a slightly coarser substrate and sweep away food sources such as phytoplankton. This results in a lower faunal abundance and slightly lower species richness of thecamoebians. Robust species such as the coarse-grained Difflugia viscidula and species which feed on bacteria such as Centropyxis aculeata show increased abundances. Modern thecamoebian assemblages are comparable to Late Holocene faunal associations in terms of species composition. Individual species abundances, however, have changed. For example, in the North Basin the Late Holocene dominance of Difflugia manicata is replaced by various strains of Difflugia oblonga during recent times. A common species of the South Basin from Late Holocene to recent times is Difflugia globulus. It would appear that faunal differences between basins are the result of differences in algal food sources.

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Journal of Paleolimnology
Department of Earth Sciences

Torigai, K. (Kaori), Schroder-Adams, C, & Burbidge, S.M. (Susan M.). (2000). A variable lacustrine environment in Lake Winnipeg, Manitoba: Evidence from modern thecamoebian distribution. Journal of Paleolimnology, 23(3), 305–318. doi:10.1023/A:1008148027142