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Schlutz F.,Lower Saxony Institute for Historical Coastal Research | Schlutz F.,University of Gottingen | Shumilovskikh L.S.,University of Gottingen
Fungal Ecology | Year: 2013

This study links the spores of the recent ascomycete genus Potamomyces with the fossil form-taxa Mediaverrunites. Spores of the only known representative of Potamomyces, P.armatisporus, were found in recent material from Nepal together with a previously unknown spore type described here for the first time as Potamomyces nepalensis-type. Potamomyces is thus not a monotypic genus. The rarely isolated type species P. armatisporus is known as a lignicolous freshwater ascomycete from tropical rivers. Our findings indicate that the genus also lives in damp conditions in terrestrial habitats, and is recently distributed also in subtropical regions. Based on the fossil findings of Mediaverrunites, the genus Potamomyces evolved at least 25 million yrago at the onset of younger Tertiary. Potamomyces is an excellent example of the potential of interdisciplinary fungal research, combining insights from fungal evolution, taxonomy, ancient and recent distribution and ecology. © 2013 Elsevier Ltd and The British Mycological Society.

Wischnewski J.,University of Potsdam | Kramer A.,Lower Saxony Institute for Historical Coastal Research | Kong Z.,CAS Institute of Botany | Mackay A.W.,University College London | And 3 more authors.
Global Change Biology | Year: 2011

Rapid population growth and economic development have led to increased anthropogenic pressures on the Tibetan Plateau, causing significant land cover changes with potentially severe ecological consequences. To assess whether or not these pressures are also affecting the remote montane-boreal lakes on the SE Tibetan Plateau, fossil pollen and diatom data from two lakes were synthesized. The interplay of aquatic and terrestrial ecosystem response was explored in respect to climate variability and human activity over the past 200 years. Nonmetric multidimensional scaling and Procrustes rotation analysis were undertaken to determine whether pollen and diatom responses in each lake were similar and synchronous. Detrended canonical correspondence analysis was used to develop quantitative estimates of compositional species turnover. Despite instrumental evidence of significant climatic warming on the southeastern Plateau, the pollen and diatom records indicate very stable species composition throughout their profiles and show only very subtle responses to environmental changes over the past 200 years. The compositional species turnover (0.36-0.94 SD) is relatively low in comparison to the species reorganizations known from the periods during the mid- and early-Holocene (0.64-1.61 SD) on the SE Plateau, and also in comparison to turnover rates of sediment records from climate-sensitive regions in the circum arctic. Our results indicate that climatically induced ecological thresholds are not yet crossed, but that human activity has an increasing influence, particularly on the terrestrial ecosystem in our study area. Synergistic processes of post-Little Ice Age warming, 20th century climate warming and extensive reforestations since the 19th century have initiated a change from natural oak-pine forests to seminatural, likely less resilient pine-oak forests. Further warming and anthropogenic disturbances would possibly exceed the ecological threshold of these ecosystems and lead to severe ecological consequences. © 2011 Blackwell Publishing Ltd.

Zech M.,University of Bayreuth | Zech M.,Martin Luther University of Halle Wittenberg | Tuthorn M.,University of Bayreuth | Zech R.,ETH Zurich | And 4 more authors.
Journal of Paleolimnology | Year: 2014

We investigated a late glacial-Holocene lacustrine sediment archive located at 4,050 m a.s.l. in the small carbonate-free catchment of Lake Panch Pokhari, Helambu Himal, Nepal. A δ18O sugar biomarker record was established by applying novel compound-specific δ18O analysis of plant sugar biomarkers (Zech and Glaser in Rapid Commun Mass Spectrom 23:3522-3532, 2009). This method overcomes analytical challenges such as extraction and purification faced by previous methods aimed at using δ18O of aquatic cellulose as a paleoclimate proxy. The δ18O results for sugar biomarkers arabinose, xylose and fucose agree well and reveal a pronounced trend towards lower δ18O values during the deglaciation and the onset of the Bølling/Allerød interstadial. By contrast, the period of the Younger Dryas is characterized by higher δ18O values. The early Holocene again reveals lower δ18O values. We suggest that our lacustrine δ18O record reflects coupled hydrological and thermal control. It is strongly related to changes in the oxygen isotopic composition of paleo-precipitation and resembles the δ18O records of Asian speleothems. With respect to the 'amount effect,' the record is interpreted as reflecting the Indian Summer Monsoon intensity. The precipitation signal is, however, amplified in our record by evaporative 18O enrichment that is controlled by the ratio of precipitation to evaporation. We suggest that our δ18O record reflects the variability of the Indian Summer Monsoon, which was strong during the Bølling/Allerød interstadial and early Holocene, but weak during the Younger Dryas stadial. This interpretation is corroborated by a pollen-based index for Lake Panch Pokhari that estimated the strength of the Indian Summer Monsoon versus the strength of the Westerlies. Millennial-scale synchronicity with the Greenland δ18O temperature records highlights the previously suggested strong teleconnections between the Asian Monsoon system and North Atlantic climate variability. © 2013 Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht.

Behre K.-E.,Lower Saxony Institute for Historical Coastal Research
International Journal of Earth Sciences | Year: 2012

The article highlights the difficulties connected with getting secure fixed-points for sea-level curve construction and emphasises the care that should be taken with data interpretation. As such, it is a welcome contribution to this important topic. On the other hand, the paper has, in my opinion, several weaknesses. It not only disregards a large body of reliable and highly relevant information on sea-level changes available from investigations carried out using a variety of methodologies, but also makes assumptions that seem to be based, to varying degrees, on misconceptions and misunderstandings. Many of these misunderstandings might have been avoided had the discussions, that are referred to in the Acknowledgements, actually taken place. I wish to take this opportunity to set the record straight by stating that no such discussions took place. © 2011 Springer-Verlag.

Giesecke T.,University of Gottingen | Wolters S.,Lower Saxony Institute for Historical Coastal Research | Brande A.,TU Berlin
PLoS ONE | Year: 2012

In mid to high latitudes glacial and interglacial cycles have repeatedly changed the area available for plant growth. The speed at which plants are able to colonize areas at the onset of an interglacial is hypothesized to limit their distribution ranges even today (migrational lag). If the spread of plants would have been generally slow then plant diversity in previously glaciated areas would be expected to increase over time. We explore this hypothesis using results from six palynological investigations from two previously glaciated regions: central Sweden and north-eastern Germany. Rarefaction, slope of rank order abundance, and taxa accumulation plots were used to evaluate richness and evenness in pollen data in an attempt to separate richness from evenness. These analyses show little change in palynological richness for the northern sites throughout the Holocene. In contrast, the southern sites show an increase in richness and evenness during the early Holocene; this may be explained by the different initial conditions at the onset of the Holocene. A strong rise in palynological richness around 6000 and 1000 years ago at the southern sites can be attributed to the regional initiation of agriculture and major opening of the forest, respectively. For the northern sites there is no evidence for increased taxonomic diversity through time that could be due to delayed immigration of species. © 2012 Giesecke et al.

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