Understanding the extent of human activities leading to an influx of chemical pollutants that cause substantial environmental transformations is the focus of much ongoing research. In this study, we present a multi-proxy record based on a sediment core from a large subtropical reservoir (Xinfengjiang Reservoir) in south China with an emphasis on the changes in testate amoebae community, in combination with sedimentological (radioactivity, physicochemistry, nutrient and organochlorine pesticides) and climatological (air temperature and precipitation) data over the last three decades. Twenty-seven testate amoebae species belonging to seven genera (Arcella, Centropyxis, Cyclopyxis, Difflugia, Netzelia, Euglypha and Pseudodifflugia) were observed. Species richness, abundance and biomass of testate amoebae were in ranges of 18–26 species, 616–825 ind. ml−1 and 9.0–19.4 μg C ml−1, respectively. Two development stages of the reservoir, dated to 1978–1993 (stage 1) and 1993–2006 (stage 2), were distinguished based on testate amoebae communities. Stage 1 was characterized by elevated dry bulk density, carbon-to‑nitrogen ratio and p,p’-DDE in the sediment core and an impact of nitrogen and sulfur deficiency on testate amoebae. Stage 2 was marked by a decrease of dry bulk density, elevated concentrations of aluminum, iron and carbon, low carbon-to‑nitrogen ratio and organochlorine pesticides, fluctuations in rainfall on shorter and yearly timescales, and a stronger influence of the organochlorine pesticides on testate amoebae. Testate amoebae community change and the identified two-stage development were consistent with atmospheric deposition of organochlorine pesticides from anthropogenic sources inside and outside the reservoir watershed, nutrient influx and sediment physicochemistry. The testate amoebae community dynamics and a strong community-environment relationship in stage 2 were linked with non-random patterns in the biotic neighborhoods of species (deterministic processes). The results suggest a stronger impact of anthropogenic disturbance than natural environmental change on testate amoebae community variation of Xinfengjiang Reservoir over time.
Ndayishimiye JC, Lin T, Nyirabuhoro P, Zhang G, Zhang WJ, Ganjidoust H, Yang J*. 2021. Decade-scale change in testate amoebae community primarily driven by anthropogenic disturbance than natural change in a large subtropical reservoir. Science of the Total Environment, 78, fiab036, DOI: 10.1016/j.scitotenv.2021.147026.