Browsing by Subject "palaeoecology and land-use history"

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  • Seddon, Alistair W. R.; Mackay, Anson W.; Baker, Ambroise G.; Birks, H. John B.; Breman, Elinor; Buck, Caitlin E.; Ellis, Erle C.; Froyd, Cynthia A.; Gill, Jacquelyn L.; Gillson, Lindsey; Johnson, Edward A.; Jones, Vivienne J.; Juggins, Stephen; Macias-Fauria, Marc; Mills, Keely; Morris, Jesse L.; Nogues-Bravo, David; Punyasena, Surangi W.; Roland, Thomas P.; Tanentzap, Andrew J.; Willis, Kathy J.; Aberhan, Martin; van Asperen, Eline N.; Austin, William E. N.; Battarbee, Rick W.; Bhagwat, Shonil; Belanger, Christina L.; Bennett, Keith D.; Birks, Hilary H.; Ramsey, Christopher Bronk; Brooks, Stephen J.; de Bruyn, Mark; Butler, Paul G.; Chambers, Frank M.; Clarke, Stewart J.; Davies, Althea L.; Dearing, John A.; Ezard, Thomas H. G.; Feurdean, Angelica; Flower, Roger J.; Gell, Peter; Hausmann, Sonja; Hogan, Erika J.; Hopkins, Melanie J.; Jeffers, Elizabeth S.; Korhola, Atte A.; Marchant, Robert; Kiefer, Thorsten; Lamentowicz, Mariusz; Larocque-Tobler, Isabelle; Lopez-Merino, Lourdes; Liow, Lee H.; McGowan, Suzanne; Miller, Joshua H.; Montoya, Encarni; Morton, Oliver; Nogue, Sandra; Onoufriou, Chloe; Boush, Lisa P.; Rodriguez-Sanchez, Francisco; Rose, Neil L.; Sayer, Carl D.; Shaw, Helen E.; Payne, Richard; Simpson, Gavin; Sohar, Kadri; Whitehouse, Nicki J.; Williams, John W.; Witkowski, Andrzej (2014)
    1. Priority question exercises are becoming an increasingly common tool to frame future agendas in conservation and ecological science, used to identify research foci which are relevant to the needs of the scientific community and which also have high policy and conservation relevance. 2. To date there has been no coherent synthesis of key questions and priority research areas for palaeoecology, which combines biological, geochemical and molecular techniques in order to reconstruct ecological and environmental systems far into the past. 3. We adapted a well-established methodology to identify 50 priority research questions in palaeoecology. We used a set of criteria that were designed to identify realistic and achievable research goals, and selected questions from a pool submitted by the international palaeoecology research community and relevant policy practitioners. Questions are not ranked by priority but are grouped thematically, and are generally focussed on the late Cenozoic onwards (past c. 65 Ma). 4. The major difference in our methodology compared to other, similar exercises was the integration of online participation both before and during the workshop, representing an important development for increasing engagement and visibility. 5. The questions selected are structured around six themes: human-environment interactions in the Anthropocene; biodiversity, conservation, and novel ecosystems; biodiversity over long timescales; ecosystem processes and biogeochemical cycling; comparing, combining and synthesising information from multiple records; and methodological approaches to palaeoecology. 6. Future opportunities in palaeoecology are related to improved incorporation of uncertainty into reconstructions, an enhanced understanding of ecological and evolutionary dynamics and processes, and the continued application of long-term data for better-informed landscape management. 7. SYNTHESIS: The 50 priority questions selected in this exercise present palaeoecological science as a vibrant and thriving discipline, and highlight its vast potential for resolving both pure (e.g. theoretical) and applied (e.g. environmental) research questions directly related to ecological science and global change.
  • Seddon, Alistair W. R.; Festi, Daniela; Nieuwkerk, Mayke; Gya, Ragnhild; Hamre, Borge; Kruger, Linn Cecilie; Ostman, Silje A. H.; Robson, T. Matthew (2021)
    Research indicates that phenolic compounds (e.g. para-coumaric acid) found within pollen grains may be useful as a proxy to reconstruct the UV-B radiation received at the Earth's surface in the geological past. However, application of this method to the plant-fossil record currently relies on a series of untested assumptions surrounding the ecological factors driving the response of pollen grains in the contemporary environment. Here, we investigate the relationship of Pinus spp. pollen to UV-B radiation using individuals of five populations sampled from three elevation gradients across Europe. We develop a novel radiation-modelling approach, which allows us to estimate the UV-B radiation dose of individual trees, weighted by different UV-B action spectra. We then use linear mixed-effects modelling to investigate: (a) whether the variations in UV-B-absorbing compounds in Pinus pollen are best described by models using coarser (subgenus) or finer (population) taxonomic levels; and (b) the duration of the period of accumulation of UV-B-absorbing compounds in pollen, ranging from 8 to 28 days. Our results demonstrate an overall positive relationship between para-coumaric acid and UV-B radiation, best described by applying a UV-B-accumulation period spanning 12-19 days. However, we also show clear evidence for population-level factors influencing this relationship across the study locations. Synthesis. Our multidisciplinary approach, which combines expertise from palaeoecology, plant physiology and atmospheric physics, provides clear evidence that pollen-grain chemistry is subject to population-level variations. We suggest that quantitative reconstructions of long-term changes in springtime UV-B radiation are still achievable using fossil reconstructions, but only with careful consideration of the factors leading to pollen representation in sediments. Future improvements are dependent on mechanistic understanding of the local factors which mediate the UV-B response across different populations, and on upscaling knowledge at the plant level to incorporate longer-term chemical variations represented within sediment samples.