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The environmental and evolutionary history of Lake Ohrid (FYROM/Albania): Interim results from the SCOPSCO deep drilling project

Wagner, Bernd; Wilke, Thomas; Francke, Alexander; Albrecht, Christian; Baumgarten, Henrike; Bertini, Adele; Combourieu-Nebout, Nathalie; Cvetkoska, Aleksandra; D'Addabbo, Michele; Donders, Timme H.; Föller, Kirstin; Giaccio, Biagio; Grazhdani, Andon; Hauffe, Torsten; Holtvoeth, Jens; Joannin, Sebastien; Jovanovska, Elena; Just, Janna; Kouli, Katerina; Koutsodendris, Andreas; Krastel, Sebastian; Lacey, Jack H.; Leicher, Niklas; Leng, Melanie J.; Levkov, Zlatko; Lindhorst, Katja; Masi, Alessia; Mercuri, Anna M.; Nomade, Sebastien; Nowaczyk, Norbert; Panagiotopoulos, Konstantinos; Peyron, Odile; Reed, Jane M.; Regattieri, Eleonora; Sadori, Laura; Sagnotti, Leonardo; Stelbrink, Bjöern; Sulpizio, Roberto; Tofilovska, Slavica; Torri, Paola; Vogel, Hendrik; Wagner, Thomas; Wagner-Cremer, Friederike; Wolff, George A.; Wonik, Thomas; Zanchetta, Giovanni; Zhang, Xiaosen S.


Bernd Wagner

Thomas Wilke

Alexander Francke

Christian Albrecht

Henrike Baumgarten

Adele Bertini

Nathalie Combourieu-Nebout

Aleksandra Cvetkoska

Michele D'Addabbo

Timme H. Donders

Kirstin Föller

Biagio Giaccio

Andon Grazhdani

Torsten Hauffe

Jens Holtvoeth

Sebastien Joannin

Elena Jovanovska

Janna Just

Katerina Kouli

Andreas Koutsodendris

Sebastian Krastel

Jack H. Lacey

Niklas Leicher

Melanie J. Leng

Zlatko Levkov

Katja Lindhorst

Alessia Masi

Anna M. Mercuri

Sebastien Nomade

Norbert Nowaczyk

Konstantinos Panagiotopoulos

Odile Peyron

Jane M. Reed

Eleonora Regattieri

Laura Sadori

Leonardo Sagnotti

Bjöern Stelbrink

Roberto Sulpizio

Slavica Tofilovska

Paola Torri

Hendrik Vogel

Thomas Wagner

Friederike Wagner-Cremer

George A. Wolff

Thomas Wonik

Giovanni Zanchetta

Xiaosen S. Zhang


This study reviews and synthesises existing information generated within the SCOPSCO (Scientific Collaboration on Past Speciation Conditions in Lake Ohrid) deep drilling project. The four main aims of the project are to infer (i) the age and origin of Lake Ohrid (Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia/Republic of Albania), (ii) its regional seismotectonic history, (iii) volcanic activity and climate change in the central northern Mediterranean region, and (iv) the influence of major geological events on the evolution of its endemic species. The Ohrid basin formed by transtension during the Miocene, opened during the Pliocene and Pleistocene, and the lake established de novo in the still relatively narrow valley between 1.9 and 1.3 Ma. The lake history is recorded in a 584 m long sediment sequence, which was recovered within the framework of the International Continental Scientific Drilling Program (ICDP) from the central part (DEEP site) of the lake in spring 2013. To date, 54 tephra and cryptotephra horizons have been found in the upper 460 m of this sequence. Tephrochronology and tuning biogeochemical proxy data to orbital parameters revealed that the upper 247.8 m represent the last 637 kyr. The multi-proxy data set covering these 637 kyr indicates long-term variability. Some proxies show a change from generally cooler and wetter to drier and warmer glacial and interglacial periods around 300 ka. Short-term environmental change caused, for example, by tephra deposition or the climatic impact of millennial-scale Dansgaard–Oeschger and Heinrich events are superimposed on the long-term trends. Evolutionary studies on the extant fauna indicate that Lake Ohrid was not a refugial area for regional freshwater animals. This differs from the surrounding catchment, where the mountainous setting with relatively high water availability provided a refuge for temperate and montane trees during the relatively cold and dry glacial periods. Although Lake Ohrid experienced significant environmental change over the last 637 kyr, preliminary molecular data from extant microgastropod species do not indicate significant changes in diversification rate during this period. The reasons for this constant rate remain largely unknown, but a possible lack of environmentally induced extinction events in Lake Ohrid and/or the high resilience of the ecosystems may have played a role.


Wagner, B., Wilke, T., Francke, A., Albrecht, C., Baumgarten, H., Bertini, A., Combourieu-Nebout, N., Cvetkoska, A., D'Addabbo, M., Donders, T. H., Föller, K., Giaccio, B., Grazhdani, A., Hauffe, T., Holtvoeth, J., Joannin, S., Jovanovska, E., Just, J., Kouli, K., Koutsodendris, A., …Zhang, X. S. (2017). The environmental and evolutionary history of Lake Ohrid (FYROM/Albania): Interim results from the SCOPSCO deep drilling project. Biogeosciences, 14(8), 2033-2054.

Journal Article Type Review
Acceptance Date Mar 20, 2017
Online Publication Date Apr 20, 2017
Publication Date Apr 20, 2017
Deposit Date Jul 9, 2018
Publicly Available Date Jul 11, 2018
Journal Biogeosciences
Print ISSN 1726-4170
Publisher European Geosciences Union
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 14
Issue 8
Pages 2033-2054
Public URL
Publisher URL
Contract Date Apr 20, 2017


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Copyright Statement
© Author(s) 2017. This work is distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.

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