Last Glacial Period (last + glacial_period)

Distribution by Scientific Domains

Selected Abstracts

The importance of low atmospheric CO2 and fire in promoting the spread of grasslands and savannas

Abstract The distribution and abundance of trees can be strongly affected by disturbance such as fire. In mixed tree/grass ecosystems, recurrent grass-fuelled fires can strongly suppress tree saplings and therefore control tree dominance. We propose that changes in atmospheric [CO2] could influence tree cover in such metastable ecosystems by altering their postburn recovery rates relative to flammable herbaceous growth forms such as grasses. Slow sapling recovery rates at low [CO2] would favour the spread of grasses and a reduction of tree cover. To test the possible importance of [CO2]/fire interactions, we first used a Dynamic Global Vegetation Model (DGVM) to simulate biomass in grassy ecosystems in South Africa with and without fire. The results indicate that fire has a major effect under higher rainfall conditions suggesting an important role for fire/[CO2] interactions. We then used a demographic model of the effects of fire on mesic savanna trees to test the importance of grass/tree differences in postburn recovery rates. We adjusted grass and tree growth in the model according to the DGVM output of net primary production at different [CO2] relative to current conditions. The simulations predicted elimination of trees at [CO2] typical of the last glacial period (180 ppm) because tree growth rate is too slow (15 years) to grow to a fire-proof size of ca. 3 m. Simulated grass growth would produce an adequate fuel load for a burn in only 2 years. Simulations of preindustrial [CO2] (270 ppm) predict occurrence of trees but at low densities. The greatest increase in trees occurs from preindustrial to current [CO2] (360 ppm). The simulations are consistent with palaeo-records which indicate that trees disappeared from sites that are currently savannas in South Africa in the last glacial. Savanna trees reappeared in the Holocene. There has also been a large increase in trees over the last 50,100 years. We suggest that slow tree recovery after fire, rather than differential photosynthetic efficiencies in C3 and C4 plants, might have been the significant factor in the Late Tertiary spread of flammable grasslands under low [CO2] because open, high light environments would have been a prerequisite for the spread of C4 grasses. Our simulations suggest further that low [CO2] could have been a significant factor in the reduction of trees during glacial times, because of their slower regrowth after disturbance, with fire favouring the spread of grasses. [source]

Putative glacial refugia of Cedrus atlantica deduced from Quaternary pollen records and modern genetic diversity

R. Cheddadi
Abstract Aim, To investigate the impact of past environmental changes on Cedrus atlantica and its current genetic diversity, and to predict its future distribution. Location, Morocco, Algeria and Tunisia. Methods, Eleven fossil pollen records from these three countries were used to locate putative glacial refugia and to reconstruct past climate changes. A mechanistic vegetation distribution model was used to simulate the distribution of C. atlantica in the year 2100. In addition, a genetic survey was carried out on modern Moroccan C. atlantica. Results, Pollen records indicate that Cedrus was present during the last glacial period, probably in scattered refugia, in Tunisia, Algeria and Morocco. In the Tunisian and Algerian sites, cedar expanded during the late glacial and the early Holocene, then disappeared after c. 8000 yr bp. Reconstructed mean annual precipitation and January temperature show that the last glacial period in Morocco was cooler by 10,15°C and drier by c. 300,400 mm year,1 than the climate today. Modern chloroplast microsatellites of 15 C. atlantica populations in Morocco confirm the presence of multiple refugia and indicate that cedar recolonized the Moroccan mountains fairly recently. Model simulation indicates that by the year 2100 the potential distribution of C. atlantica will be much restricted with a potential survival area located in the High Atlas. Main conclusions, Environmental changes in northern Africa since the last glacial period have had an impact on the geographical distribution of C. atlantica and on its modern genetic diversity. It is possible that by the end of this century C. atlantica may be unable to survive in its present-day locations. To preserve the species, we suggest that seedlings from modern C. atlantica populations located in the High Atlas mountains, where a high genetic diversity is found, be transplanted into the western High Atlas. [source]

Glacial survival or late glacial colonization?

Phylogeography of the root vole (Microtus oeconomus) in north-west Norway
Abstract Aim, It has been proposed that the root vole subspecies, Microtus oeconomus finmarchicus, survived the last glacial period on islands on the north-west coast of Norway. The Norwegian island of Andøya may have constituted the only site with permanent ice-free conditions. Geological surveys and fossil finds from Andøya demonstrate that survival throughout the last glacial maximum was probably possible for some plants and animals. In this study we aim to infer the recent evolutionary history of Norwegian root vole populations and to evaluate the glacial survival hypothesis. Methods, DNA sequence variation in the mitochondrial cytochrome b gene was studied in 46 root voles from 19 localities. Location, Northern Fennoscandia and north-west Russia with a focus on islands on the north-west coast of Norway. Results The phylogeographical analyses revealed two North European phylogroups labelled ,Andøya' and ,Fennoscandia'. The Andøya phylogroup contained root voles from the Norwegian islands of Andøya, Ringvassøya and Reinøya and two localities in north-west Russia. The Fennoscandian phylogroup encompassed root voles from the three Norwegian islands of Kvaløya, Håkøya and Arnøya and the remaining specimens from Norway, northern Sweden and Finland. Nucleotide diversity within the Andøya and Fennoscandian phylogroups was similar, ranging from 0.5% to 0.7%. Main conclusions Both our genetic data and previously published morphological data are consistent with in situ glacial survival of root voles on Andøya during the last glacial maximum. However, the level of genetic diversity observed in the extant island populations, the past periods of severe climatic conditions on Andøya and the ecology of the root vole are somewhat difficult to reconcile with this model. A biogeographical scenario involving late glacial recolonization along the northern coasts of Russia and Norway therefore represents a viable alternative. Our results demonstrate that complex recolonization and extinction histories can generate intricate phylogeographical patterns and relatively high levels of genetic variation in northern populations. [source]

Patterns and determinants of shorebird species richness in the circumpolar Arctic

Sara S. Henningsson
Abstract Aim, The intention with this study was first to investigate and describe the broad-scale geographical patterns of species richness of breeding shorebirds (Charadriiformes; families: Charadriidae, Scolopacidae and Haematopodidae) throughout the arctic tundra biome. Secondly, after compensating for the positive relationship between net primary productivity (NPP) and species richness, the relative importance of additional ecological and historical variables for species richness was investigated. The main variables considered are NPP, length of snow- and ice-free season, accessibility of regions depending on migratory flyway systems, tundra area at Pleistocene (120 and 20,18 ka bp) and Holocene (8 ka bp) times, and tundra area at present. Methods, Information on shorebird species breeding distributions was compiled from distribution atlases and species accounts. The breeding distributions of shorebirds with ranges partly or completely in the Arctic (a total of 50 species) were mapped in ArcView 3.2 to create a raster grid layer of shorebird species richness at a 1° latitude × longitude resolution. The total and mean species richness value was calculated per each 10° of longitude sector of the Arctic. The relationships between species richness and the different climatic and environmental variables were analysed on the basis of this sector-wise division of the arctic tundra. The influence of each variable on species richness was investigated using univariate and multivariate analyses (multivariate linear regression and general linear model). Results, We found that patterns of breeding shorebird species richness in the Arctic tundra biome are to a large degree determined by the NPP, the length of the snow- or ice-free season, the diversity of migratory flyways, as well as the historical extent of tundra habitat area during the maximum cooling of the last glacial period. Essentially, two main regions are distinguishable in the circumpolar Arctic regarding shorebird community richness. These are a species-rich Beringia-centred region and a species-poor Atlantic-centred region. Main conclusions, The underlying explanations to these major trends may primarily be attributed to factors that operate at present through accessibility of areas from contemporary migration flyways, as well as processes that operated in the past during and after the last glacial cycle. The most prominent influence on the shorebird diversity was found for NPP in combination with the diversity of migratory flyways. These flyways provide the links between breeding and wintering resources, often separated by huge distances, and the geographical and ecological conditions associated with the shorebirds' migration seem to be of particular importance for their breeding diversity in different sectors of circumpolar tundra. [source]

Genetic divergence between sympatric Arctic charr Salvelinus alpinus morphs in Gander Lake, Newfoundland: roles of migration, mutation and unequal effective population sizes

D. Gomez-Uchida
A suite of 10 microsatellite loci was used to examine genetic divergence between two sympatric morphs of Arctic charr Salvelinus alpinus (,dark' and ,pale') inhabiting Gander Lake, Newfoundland. Results can be summarized as follows: (1) the morphs are strongly reproductively isolated , gene flow,migration estimates were consistently low in long and short-term evolutionary timescales of analysis; (2) intermorph divergence based on allele size (RST) was significantly larger than those based on allele state (,) implying a cumulative effect of stepwise-like mutations; (3) historical (coalescent) and current (linkage disequilibrium) point estimates of effective population size (Ne) were consistently higher for dark than for pale S. alpinus. The first and second findings lend support to the hypothesis that divergence between forms may have preceded the last glacial period (ending c. 12 000 years bp). The third finding argues for significant differences in habitat quantity and quality between morphs, which were emphasized in a previous study. Overall, these analyses underscore the importance of genetic assessment and monitoring in the conservation of fish diversity, with emphasis on ,rare' or under-represented forms among temperate species pairs. [source]

Holocene bipolar climate seesaw: possible subtle evidence from the deep North East Atlantic Ocean?,

Mark A. Maslin
Abstract The occurrence of a millennial-scale bipolar climate seesaw has been documented in detail for the last glacial period and Termination. There is, however, debate whether it occurs during interglacials and if it does what influence it could have on future climate. We present here new evidence from a North East Atlantic Ocean deep-sea core which supports the hypothesis for a Holocene bipolar climate seesaw. BENGAL Site 13078#16, from the Porcupine Abyssal Plain, is 4844,m deep and situated at the North Atlantic Deep Water and Antarctic Bottom Water (AABW) interface. Planktic foraminiferal fragment accumulation rate data at this site is an indicator of coarse carbonate dissolution, which is highly sensitive to the incursion of under-saturated AABW. Five dissolution peaks have been identified, which seem to occur approximately 500 a after each of the North Atlantic 'Bond' ice rafting pulses, suggesting a subsequent subtle shallowing of AABW. This indicates a possible lagged climatic link between North East Atlantic surface water conditions and AABW production in the Southern Ocean during the Holocene. This provides the first tentative evidence that there was a Holocene bipolar climate seesaw and that the deep ocean was involved. This study also suggests that extremely sensitive locations need to be sought as the Holocene bipolar climate seesaw seems to be very subtle compared with its glacial counterparts. Copyright © 2009 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd. [source]

Sub-millennial climate shifts in the western Mediterranean during the last glacial period recorded in a speleothem from Mallorca, Spain,

Edward J. Hodge
Abstract Very few high-resolution and directly dated terrestrial archives of the last glacial period exist for the western Mediterranean region, yet this is a key locality for recording sub-millennial North Atlantic and Mediterranean climate change. Here, we present evidence of effective precipitation changes based on growth history and ,13C of calcite in a Mallorcan stalagmite that grew between 112 and 48,ka. Effective precipitation in Mallorca appears to have been sensitive to proximal sea surface temperature variations and at certain times, ca. 76,ka for example, changed rapidly from moist to arid conditions in only a few centuries. A sea-level highstand during Marine Isotope Stage (MIS) 5a interrupted growth. Regrowth started promptly after this, but effective precipitation decreased markedly for much of the later part of MIS 5a, and also for shorter periods correlative with Heinrich events H8 (ca. 90,ka) and H6 (ca. 65,ka), with growth ceasing during H5 (ca. 48,ka). Arid episodes in Mallorca appear to be expressions of extremely cold periods recorded further north in Europe and occur contemporaneously with rapid decreases in Greenland temperature. Copyright © 2008 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd. [source]

Identification of the Fugloyarbanki tephra in the NGRIP ice core: a key tie-point for marine and ice-core sequences during the last glacial period,

S. M. Davies
Abstract A visible tephra horizon in the NGRIP ice core has been identified by geochemical analysis as the Fugloyarbanki Tephra, a widespread marker horizon in marine cores from the Faroe Islands area and the northern North Atlantic. An age of 26,740,±,390 yr b2k (1, uncertainty) is derived for this tephra according to the new Greenland Ice Core Chronology (GICC05) based on multi-parameter counting of annual layers. Detection of this tephra for the first time within the NGRIP ice core provides a key tie-point between marine and ice-core records during the transition between MIS 3 and 2. Identification of this volcanic event within the Greenland records demonstrates the future potential of using tephrochronology to precisely correlate palaeoarchives in widely separated localities that span the last glacial period, as well as providing a potential method for examining the extent of the radiocarbon marine reservoir effect at this time. Copyright © 2008 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd. [source]

Genetic structure of the European polecat (Mustela putorius) and its implication for conservation strategies

C. Pertoldi
Abstract During the last century, the European polecat Mustela putorius populations in most of Europe declined and survived in fragmented patches, because of habitat alterations and direct persecution. To assess the genetic consequences of the demographic decline and to describe the spatial pattern of genetic diversity, 250 polecats sampled at seven localities from five European countries , Poland, Denmark (southern Denmark and northern Denmark), Spain, Belgium (eastern and western) and the Netherlands , were screened by means of nine microsatellite loci. Genetic diversity estimated by mean expected heterozygosity (HE) and allelic richness (AR) were moderately high within populations [range: 0.50 (northern Denmark) ,HE,0.64 (Poland) and 1.33,AR,7.80] as compared with other carnivores and mustelids. Bottleneck tests suggested that polecat populations in southern Denmark and Poland have declined recently and populations from northern Denmark and the Netherlands have expanded recently, whereas the remaining populations did not show any sign of demographic change. Recent demographic changes could suggest that some of the populations are still not in equilibrium, which could partly explain the relatively high genetic variability observed in polecat populations despite the drastic decline in population size observed in several European countries. A significant heterozygote deficiency [FIS=0.19; 0.01,95% confidence interval (CI),0.32] suggests substructuring within the total European sample. Partitioning of the genetic variation among sampling locations (FST=0.14; 0.06,95% CI,0.23) and pairwise FST between localities (range: 0.01,FST,0.37) without any correlation with the geographic distances between localities were found, suggesting a recent divergence and a restriction of gene flow between populations and the action of genetic drift. An assignment test showed that the Polish and the northern Danish populations were the most unique, whereas the other populations were partially admixed. Factorial component analysis tests indicate a subdivision of the total sample into two distinct groups: one including the samples from Poland and the two Danish localities and the second group comprising the remaining localities investigated. The observed pattern of genetic differentiation is suggested to be due to two main routes of recolonization after the last glacial period. To compare the results obtained with microsatellite data, the most variable region of the mitochondrial DNA (d-loop) was sequenced and different phylogenetic reconstructions and genetic diversity analyses based on nucleotide (,) and haplotype diversity (h) measures within populations were performed using a subsample of populations. The lack of well-defined geographical structure, as well as the reduced level of mitochondrial DNA variability (,: 0.00274±0.00038; h: 0.876±0.028) that was found, has been previously reported in several studies on different carnivores and supports the hypothesis of post-glacial recolonization from southern or eastern refugees of Europe as suggested by the microsatellite data. Implications for conservation strategies of the polecat at the European level are discussed. [source]

Wolves in the Great Lakes region: a phylogeographic puzzle

Empirical studies demonstrate that natural hybridization in animals is more common than thought so far (Mallet 2005), particularly among species that originated recently through cycles of population contraction,expansion arising from climate changes over the last glacial period, the Pleistocene. In addition, the post-glacial global growth of human populations has fostered anthropogenic hybridization events, mediated by habitat changes, the persecution of large predators and the introduction of alien species (Allendorf et al. 2001). The Canis lineage shows cases of both natural and anthropogenic hybridization, exacerbating the controversy about the number of species that should be formally validated in the taxonomic lists, the evolutionary role of genetic introgression and the ways to manage hybrids with invading wild or domesticated populations. The study by Wheeldon et al. (2010), published in this issue of Molecular Ecology, adds a new piece to the intricate puzzle of evolution and taxonomy of Canis in North America. They show that sympatric wolves (C. lupus) and coyotes (C. latrans) are not (extensively) hybridizing in the western North American Great Lakes region (GLR). Widespread hybridization between coyotes and a genetically distinct, but closely related, wolf-like population (the eastern wolf) occurred in the northeastern regions of North America. In Wheeldon et al.'s (2010) opinion, these data should prove definitely that two different species of wolf (the western gray wolf C. lupus and the eastern wolf C. lycaon) and their hybrids are distributed across the GLR. [source]

Range expansions in the flightless longhorn cactus beetles, Moneilema gigas and Moneilema armatum, in response to Pleistocene climate changes

Abstract Pollen cores and plant and animal fossils suggest that global climate changes at the end of the last glacial period caused range expansions in organisms indigenous to the North American desert regions, but this suggestion has rarely been investigated from a population genetic perspective. In order to investigate the impact of Pleistocene climate changes and glacial/interglacial cycling on the distribution and population structure of animals in North American desert communities, biogeographical patterns in the flightless, warm-desert cactus beetles, Moneilema gigas and Moneilema armatum, were examined using mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) sequence data from the cytochrome oxidase I (COI) gene. Gene tree relationships between haplotypes were inferred using parsimony, maximum-likelihood, and Bayesian analysis. Nested clade analysis and coalescent modelling using the programs mdiv and fluctuate were used to identify demographically independent populations, and to test the hypothesis that Pleistocene climate changes caused recent range expansions in these species. A sign test was used to evaluate the probability of observing concerted population growth across multiple, independent populations. The phylogeographical and nested clade analyses reveal a history of northward expansion in both of these species, as well as a history of past range fragmentation, followed by expansion from refugia. The coalescent analyses provide highly significant evidence for independent range expansions from multiple refugia, but also identify biogeographical patterns that predate the most recent glacial period. The results indicate that widespread desert environments are more ancient than has been suggested in the past. [source]

Involutions resulting from annual freeze,thaw cycles: a laboratory simulation based on observations in northeastern Japan

Yoshiko Ogino
Abstract A pilot laboratory experiment using a reversed two-layer soil model simulated small-scale involutions formed in a seasonal frost environment during the last glacial period. At the modelled site, the interface between the upper aeolian sandy loam and the lower volcanic pumice constitutes small-scale involutions that display upward-extending tapered projections and downward-extending round hollows. Two scale-reduced laboratory models were subjected to three accelerated annual freeze,thaw cycles with monitoring of frost heave, soil temperature, moisture and pressure. Ice segregation near the layer interface induces upheaving of coarse pumice grains on freezing and earlier settlement of mobilised loam on thawing, resulting in deformation of the interface. A reconstructed 3-D interface displays mounds and depressions with a diameter of 15,20,cm and a height increasing with freeze, thaw alternations. The experimental results imply that the repetition of differential heave and soft-loam settlement promotes decimetre-scale involutions in near-saturated soils subject to deep seasonal frost penetration. Copyright © 2007 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd. [source]