Character of vegetational and environmental changes in southern Europe during the last glacial period; evidence from Lesvos Island, Greece

Margari, V., Gibbard, P.L., Bryant, C.L. and Tzedakis, P.C. (2009) Character of vegetational and environmental changes in southern Europe during the last glacial period; evidence from Lesvos Island, Greece. Quaternary Science Reviews, 28(13-14), pp. 1317-1339. (doi: 10.1016/j.quascirev.2009.01.008)

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This paper presents high-resolution results of palynological and sedimentological analyses undertaken on two sediment cores from the Megali Limni (ML) basin, an area characterised by serpentine soils, in the southeastern part of Lesvos Island, Greece. Six tephra horizons and multiple radiocarbon dates provide independent controls towards the development of a chronological framework. The composite pollen record spans the period from 22 to 62 thousand years ago (ka) BP and shows a number of oscillations between steppe, forest-steppe and forest, in concert with North Atlantic millennial-scale variability. Vegetation during the late Marine Isotope Stage (MIS) 4 was grassland/steppe, indicating cold and arid conditions, while sediment composition suggests increased erosion rates. Arboreal populations (dominated by Pinus and to a lesser extent deciduous Quercus) expanded during MIS 3 interstadials, suggesting increases in precipitation and temperature. Within the course of the longer interstadials, changes in vegetation composition point to a trend towards increased aridity and sometimes decreasing winter temperatures. During intervening stadials, vegetation was composed mainly of Artemisia, Chenopodiaceae and Gramineae, indicating reversals to arid and cold conditions, with most extreme conditions recorded during stadials corresponding to Heinrich Events. During the course of MIS 3, the basin was progressively infilled with sediments. Only a small portion of MIS 2 is represented in the sequence, showing a short-lived expansion of arboreal populations. Comparisons with other pollen sequences from southern Europe underscore the important role of Pinus throughout the last glacial period, a reflection of the serpentine soils of the Megali Limni area, where Pinus brutia dominates today.

Item Type:Articles
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Bryant, Dr Charlotte
Authors: Margari, V., Gibbard, P.L., Bryant, C.L., and Tzedakis, P.C.
College/School:College of Science and Engineering > Scottish Universities Environmental Research Centre
Journal Name:Quaternary Science Reviews
ISSN (Online):1873-457X

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