Lake water calcium (Ca) decline has recently been recognized as a stressor impacting softwater lake districts that have experienced long-termpatterns of acid deposition and/or timber harvesting. Declining aqueous Ca levels may impact the survival of aquatic biota, particularly Ca-rich cladoceran taxa such as daphniids. Daphnia pulex are sensitive to laboratory Ca levels below 1.5 mg l -1; however, responses of cladoceran communities to Ca decline in natural environments require further study. Dickie Lake (Ontario, Canada) is the site of an inadvertent natural experiment, providing insight into the effects of changing aqueous Ca availability upon cladoceran communities, as the lake has a history of acidification, followed by recent (1990s) Ca additions to the watershed via applications of calciumrich road dust suppressants. Paleolimnological analyses were used to examine changes in cladoceran community structure (with a focus upon Ca-rich daphniids) from pre-industrial times to present day. Three distinct temporal stages were apparent in Dickie Lake's daphniid community: 1870-1950, 1950-1990, and 1990-present. The daphniid community of the pre-industrial assemblages was dominated by members of the Daphnia longispina species complex, but shifted in the late 1950s to more acid- and Ca-insensitive members of the D. pulex species complex. During the most recent stage, coincident with dust suppressant applications, both daphniid complexes are well represented. Observed transitions between daphniid species complexes provide further evidence of the influence of Ca availability upon cladoceran community structure, indicating the potential importance of the controlled addition of Ca to freshwater systems (i.e., liming) as a mitigation/recovery strategy as Ca declines continue. © Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2011.