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A comparative study of ancient sedimentary DNA, pollen and macrofossils from permafrost sediments of northern Siberia reveals long-term vegetational stability
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2012 (English)In: Molecular Ecology, ISSN 0962-1083, E-ISSN 1365-294X, Vol. 21Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Although ancient DNA from sediments (sedaDNA) has been used to investigate past ecosystems, the approach has never been directly compared with the traditional methods of pollen and macrofossil analysis. We conducted a comparative survey of 18 ancient permafrost samples spanning the Late Pleistocene (4612.5 thousand years ago), from the Taymyr Peninsula in northern Siberia. The results show that pollen, macrofossils and sedaDNA are complementary rather than overlapping and, in combination, reveal more detailed information on plant palaeocommunities than can be achieved by each individual approach. SedaDNA and macrofossils share greater overlap in plant identifications than with pollen, suggesting that sedaDNA is local in origin. These two proxies also permit identification to lower taxonomic levels than pollen, enabling investigation into temporal changes in species composition and the determination of indicator species to describe environmental changes. Combining data from all three proxies reveals an area continually dominated by a mosaic vegetation of tundra-steppe, pioneer and wet-indicator plants. Such vegetational stability is unexpected, given the severe climate changes taking place in the Northern Hemisphere during this time, with changes in average annual temperatures of >22 degrees C. This may explain the abundance of ice-age mammals such as horse and bison in Taymyr Peninsula during the Pleistocene and why it acted as a refugium for the last mainland woolly mammoth. Our finding reveals the benefits of combining sedaDNA, pollen and macrofossil for palaeovegetational reconstruction and adds to the increasing evidence suggesting large areas of the Northern Hemisphere remained ecologically stable during the Late Pleistocene.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2012. Vol. 21
Keyword [en]
ancient sedimentary plant DNA macrofossils palaeoecology pollen radiocarbon chronologies plant macrofossils taymyr peninsula frozen sediments late pleistocene glacial maximum climate sequences ice holocene Biochemistry & Molecular Biology Environmental Sciences & Ecology Evolutionary Biology
Research subject
SWEDARCTIC 1999, Tajmyr 1999; SWEDARCTIC 1998, Tajmyr 1998
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:polar:diva-1906DOI: 10.1111/j.1365-294X.2011.05287.xOAI: oai:DiVA.org:polar-1906DiVA: diva2:810423
Note

ISI Document Delivery No.: 923JS Times Cited: 26 Cited Reference Count: 63 Jorgensen, Tina Haile, James Moller, Per Andreev, Andrei Boessenkool, Sanne Rasmussen, Morten Kienast, Frank Coissac, Eric Taberlet, Pierre Brochmann, Christian Bigelow, Nancy H. Andersen, Kenneth Orlando, Ludovic Gilbert, M. Thomas P. Willerslev, Eske Coissac, Eric/B-1077-2011; Orlando, Ludovic/A-8932-2013; Taberlet, Pierre/D-1178-2010; Gilbert, Marcus/A-8936-2013; Brochmann, Christian/A-4105-2009 Coissac, Eric/0000-0001-7507-6729; Orlando, Ludovic/0000-0003-3936-1850; Gilbert, Marcus/0000-0002-5805-7195; European Union (EU) under the European Science Foundation's Quaternary Environments of the Eurasian North (QUEEN) [ENV4-CT97-0563]; Swedish Natural Science Research Council (VR) [G-650-199815671/2000]; Swedish Polar Research Secretariat; Danish National Research Foundation Fieldwork in Siberia was conducted within the European Union (EU)-financed 'Eurasian ice sheets' project (ENV4-CT97-0563) under the European Science Foundation's Quaternary Environments of the Eurasian North (QUEEN) programme umbrella. Specific project funding for research on Taymyr was provided by the Swedish Natural Science Research Council (NFR, now VR) to P. Moller (G-650-199815671/2000), and logistics were mainly arranged and, to a large extent, paid for, by the Swedish Polar Research Secretariat. We thank Peter-Steen Henriksen, Morten Fischer Mortensen and Charlie Christensen from the Danish National Museum (Copenhagen) for help and discussions on macrofossils analysis. The study was supported by the Danish National Research Foundation. 28 Wiley-blackwell Hoboken Si Biochemistry & Molecular Biology; Ecology; Evolutionary Biology

Available from: 2015-05-07 Created: 2015-05-06 Last updated: 2015-09-14Bibliographically approved

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