EGU2020-9605
https://doi.org/10.5194/egusphere-egu2020-9605
EGU General Assembly 2020
© Author(s) 2020. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Ancient sedimentary DNA reveals long-term impact of climate change on northern flora

Inger Alsos1 and the ECOGEN and IceAGenT teams*
Inger Alsos and the ECOGEN and IceAGenT teams
  • 1UiT - The Arctic University of Norway, The Arctic University Museum of Norway, Norway (inger.g.alsos@uit.no)
  • *A full list of authors appears at the end of the abstract

Arctic and alpine species are disproportionally affected by climate change, and knowledge about their ability to survive or disperse is essential for their long-term conservation. Ancient sedimentary DNA (sedaDNA) has improved as a proxy for reconstructing past floras, and may now be applied in high throughput analyses. Our lab has analysed, or is in the process of analysing, sedaDNA from ~40 long (up to 26 000 years old) and 11 short (0-1000 years old) lake sediment cores from the Europe (Alps, Norway, Svalbard, Iceland, Polar Urals). Both general and site-specific patterns have emerged from these data. For example, the taxa recorded in sedaDNA often indicate a warmer climate than that which has been inferred based on pollen records; this is in concordance with macrofossil evidence. Also, the limits of past northern tree lines may have been underestimated based on pollen studies. Some heathland species, such as Vaccinium spp. and Empetrum, often show a time lag in arrival compared with other species with similar climatic requirements. Thus, despite the fact that they have berries and therefore are well adapted to long-distance dispersal by birds, our data show they are constrained from rapid responses to climate changes. Other patterns are site-specific. For example, we see a stepwise doubling of floristic richness from the Last Glacial Maximum to the Holocene in the Polar Urals, which is barely detectable in the pollen analyses. Further, the majority of taxa with a mainly arctic-alpine distributions survived the early-Holocene climate warming, when shrub and trees entered the region, probably due to a very heterogeneous landscape that allows co-existence of species with different requirements. In contrast, arctic-alpine taxa disappear from the catchment a subset of the lakes studied in North Norway after shrub and forest expansion. Linking this type of information to characteristics of these biogeographic regions may provide useful when planning for future nature reserves. In the near future, the combination of many sites, complete DNA reference libraries, and emerging molecular methods will allow for the tracking of individual species through time and space.

ECOGEN and IceAGenT teams:

Inger Greve Alsos1, Peter D. Heintzman1, Dilli Prasad Rijal2, Tony Gavin Brown1,3, Charlotte Clarke3, Anne E. Bjune4, Kelsey Lorberau2, Youri Lammers1, Sandra Garces Pastor1, Scarlett Zetter1, Nigel Giles Yoccoz2, Mary E. Edwards1,3, Kari Anne Bråthen2, Anastasia Poliakova1, Marie K.F. Merkel1, Iva Pitelkova1, Ludovic Gielly5, Aage Paus4, Paul Hughes3, Haflidi Haflidason6, Jan Mangerud6, John-Inge Svendsen6, Anders Schomacker7, Tomasz Goslar8 1The Arctic University Museum of Norway, UiT - The Arctic University of Norway, NO-9037 Tromsø, Norway. 2Department of Arctic and Marine Biology, UiT - The Arctic University of Norway, NO-9037 Tromsø, Norway. 3School of Geography and Environmental Science, University of Southampton, Highfield, Southampton, SO17 1BJ, UK. 4Department of Biological Sciences and Bjerknes Centre for Climate Research, University of Bergen, 5020, Bergen, Norway 5Laboratoire d’Ecologie Alpine (LECA), Université Grenoble Alpes, C2 40700 38058, Grenoble Cedex 9, France 6Department of Earth Science and Bjerknes Centre for Climate Research, University of Bergen, Allégaten 41, Bergen 5007, Norway 7Department of Geosciences, UiT - The Arctic University of Norway, NO-9037 Tromsø, Norway 8Faculty of Physics, Adam Mickiewicz University, Poznan, Poland

How to cite: Alsos, I. and the ECOGEN and IceAGenT teams: Ancient sedimentary DNA reveals long-term impact of climate change on northern flora, EGU General Assembly 2020, Online, 4–8 May 2020, EGU2020-9605, https://doi.org/10.5194/egusphere-egu2020-9605, 2020

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