Czarny Staw Gąsienicowy

Whenever I see a lake, especially one as beautiful as Czarny Staw Gąsienicowy in the High Tatras, I wonder about what hypotheses could be tested with a sediment core.


The lake, in a glacial cirque 1624 m a.s.l., is 51 m deep. At that depth, a Kajak corer or a micro-Kullenberg corer would be the obvious corers to use. Both are line-operated, the former would be good for sediment cores up to 50 cm long, the latter has a piston which improved sediment recovery when collecting longer cores (perhaps 2m). Fortunately, that is probably about as much lacustrine sediment as there is in the lake. The lake could be cored from the ice in spring (I’ve never done this – I was supposed to core a Finnish bay, but the ice was too thin), or from a small boat.

There are, not surprisingly, several palaeoecological studies on Czarny Staw Gąsienicowy and neighbouring lakes in the High Tatras (this list does not pretend to be complete – please add any I have missed in the comments).

Sienkiewicz and Gąsiorowsk (2014) take short cores from Czarny Staw Gąsienicowy and two other lakes and investigate the diatom stratigraphies over the last millennium and use EDDI to reconstruct nutrient status. The two other lakes have tourist cabins in their catchment and show eutrophication (the Secchi-disc depth is 12 m – these are not your pea soup eutrophic pond).

Gąsiorowski and Sienkiewicz (2010) investigate diatom and cladoceran stratigraphies from short cores from two lakes south of Czarny Staw Gąsienicowy (not the lakes in Sienkiewicz and Gąsiorowsk (2014)). They infer recent acidification-driven change in the stratigraphies following earlier climate-driven changes.

Kubovčík and Bitušík (2006) examine the chironomid response to pH changes in three lakes with different susceptibility to acidification from the Slovakian side of the Tatra. The best buffered lake shows no change in chironomid assemblages, whereas the least buffered lake has a large change in assemblage composition and a large drop in chironomid abundance.

Šporka et al (2002) investigate several proxies from Nižné Terianske pleso in Slovakia. Spherical carbonaceous particles give a good indication of the timing of atmospheric pollution. The pigment record is ambiguous (as it often is): downcore changes may be driven entirely by diagenesis, but there may also be a signal from changes in trophic state revealed by the other proxies. There was “no clear relationship between chironomid assemblage and temperature change”. Diatom and chrysophyte assemblages appear to have been influenced by acidification and perhaps also by warming.

On a longer time-scale, Marciniak (1986) presents a diatom stratigraphy from a 3 m-long core from Przedni Staw Lake that starts in the Older Dryas. It is a very descriptive paper, the likes of which would be difficult to publish now, and mentions some previous work on the same lake, including Cladoceran analyses.

There are also pollen analytical work including Rybníčková and Rybníček (2006) and Kłapyta et al (2015).

An overview of limnological studies in the Carpathian region, of which the Tatras are a part, is given by Buczkó et al (2009).


About richard telford

Ecologist with interests in quantitative methods and palaeoenvironments
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