Mire ontogeny, environmental and climatic change inferred from fossil beetle successions from Hatfield Moors, eastern England

Whitehouse, N. J. (2004) Mire ontogeny, environmental and climatic change inferred from fossil beetle successions from Hatfield Moors, eastern England. Holocene, 14(1), pp. 79-93. (doi: 10.1191/0959683604hl691rp)

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Results of a fossil Coleoptera (beetle) fauna from a fen edge sequence from Hatfield Moors, Humber-head Levels, England, are presented. Mire ontogeny inferred from this location and others are discussed, particularly in the light of previous palynological and plant macrofossil investigations. Peat initiation across most of the site centres around 3000 cal. bc, characterized by a Calluna-Eriophorum heath with areas of PinusBetula woodland. The onset of peat accumulation on the southern margins of the site was delayed until 1520– 1390 cal. bc and appears to overlap closely with a recurrence surface at a pollen site (HAT 2) dated to 1610– 1440 cal. bc, suggesting that increased surface wetness may have caused mire expansion at this time. The faunas illustrate the transition from eutrophic and mesotrophic fen to ombrotrophic raised mire, although the significance of both Pinus- and Calluna-indicating species through the sequence suggests that heath habitats may have continued to be important. Elsewhere, this earlier phase of rich fen is lacking and mesotrophic mire developed immediately above nutrient-poor sands, with ombrotrophic conditions indicated soon after. Correspondence analysis of the faunas provides valuable insights into the importance of sandy heath habitats on Hatfield Moors. The continuing influence of the underlying coversands suggests these may have been instrumental in mire ontogeny. The research highlights the usefulness of using Coleoptera to assess mire ontogeny, fluctuations in site hydrology and vegetation cover, particularly when used in conjunction with other peatland proxies. The significance of a suite of extinct beetle species is discussed with reference to forest history and climatic change.

Item Type:Articles
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Whitehouse, Professor Nicki
Authors: Whitehouse, N. J.
College/School:College of Arts & Humanities > School of Humanities > Archaeology
Journal Name:Holocene
Publisher:Edward Arnold
ISSN (Online):1477-0911

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