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Linear and non-linear responses of vegetation and soils to glacial-interglacial climate change in a Mediterranean refuge

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

  • Jens Holtvoeth
  • Hendrik Vogel
  • Verushka Valsecchi
  • Katja Lindhorst
  • Stefan Schouten
  • Bernd Wagner
  • George Wolff
Original languageEnglish
Article number8121
Number of pages7
JournalScientific Reports
Volume7
DOIs
DateAccepted/In press - 7 Jul 2017
DatePublished (current) - 14 Aug 2017

Abstract

The impact of past global climate change on local terrestrial ecosystems and their vegetation and soil organic matter (OM) pools is often non-linear and poorly constrained. To address this, we investigated the response of a temperate habitat influenced by global climate change in a key glacial refuge, Lake Ohrid (Albania, Macedonia). We applied independent geochemical and palynological proxies to a sedimentary archive from the lake over the penultimate glacial-interglacial transition (MIS 6–5) and the following interglacial (MIS 5e-c), targeting lake surface temperature as an indicator of regional climatic development and the supply of pollen and biomarkers from the vegetation and soil OM pools to determine local habitat response. Climate fluctuations strongly influenced the ecosystem, however, lake level controls the extent of terrace surfaces between the shoreline and mountain slopes and hence local vegetation, soil development and OM export to the lake sediments. There were two phases of transgressional soil erosion from terrace surfaces during lake-level rise in the MIS 6–5 transition that led to habitat loss for the locally dominant pine vegetation as the terraces drowned. Our observations confirm that catchment morphology plays a key role in providing refuges with low groundwater depth and stable soils during variable climate.

    Research areas

  • Biogeochemistry, Palaeoclimate, Hydrology, Limnology, Geochemistry

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    Rights statement: This is the final published version of the article (version of record). It first appeared online via Springer Nature at https://www.nature.com/articles/s41598-017-08101-y. Please refer to any applicable terms of use of the publisher.

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    Licence: CC BY

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