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Browsing by Subject "the Holocene"

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  • Ahonen, Veronica (2019)
    Permafrost peatlands have the capacity to store significant amounts of carbon, and thus they act as important controllers of the climate. Approximately 14% of the world’s soil organic carbon pool is stored in permafrost peatlands, which are sensitive to climatic fluctuations due to their location in the high latitudes of the subarctic zone. Permafrost peatlands also act as a habitat for a large number of moisture-sensitive organisms, such as bryophytes and testate amoebae, which can be used to study how the hydrology of peatlands has changed and will continue to change throughout time, giving us an opportunity to predict the future of peatlands under a changing climate. In this Master’s Thesis I examined the testate amoebae composition and used these species as indicators to study hydrological fluctuations from three subarctic permafrost peatland cores extracted from Taavavuoma and Abisko in northern Sweden. The species compositions were combined with radiocarbon (14C) and lead (210Pb) dates to reconstruct the past water table levels for the late Holocene, spanning four climatic periods. The reconstructions were then compared to past studies on testate amoebae to understand how permafrost peatlands and their species assemblages respond to changes in the hydrology of the active layer of the peat. Out of the study sites only the Taavavuoma cores spanned the Dark Age Cold Period (DACP) and Medieval Climate Anomaly (MCA). Species compositions in both cores indicated fluctuating water tables during the DACP, but during the MCA the results began to contradict with one site showing a wetter, and the other a drier MCA. Two out of three study sites indicated a wetter Little Ice Age and a drier Post-Industrial Warming, supporting past studies indicating similar results, whereas one study site gave opposite results. The results indicated large variability in testate amoebae assemblages throughout time, indicating that the hydrology of peatlands can change very abruptly and vary considerably even on a local scale. Modelling is however complicated by the poorly known ecology of testate amoebae, which is why a multi-proxy approach is essential to reliably predict the future fate of permafrost peatlands.
  • Mäkelä, Meri (2021)
    The present retreat of the Greenland Ice Sheet will increase the amount of fjords surrounded only by land-terminating glaciers in the future. As in the Arctic, productivity is generally lower at these kinds of fjord systems than in the ones surrounded by marine-terminating glaciers, this will most likely affect the productivity and ecosystem structure of coastal marine areas. Paleorecords of past coastal ecosystems can improve our understanding of the drivers of Arctic coastal ecosystem change and provide possible future scenarios. At present, there are not many high-resolution marine ecosystem reconstructions from the Arctic near-shore areas, and in particular those, which take into account land-derived inputs are lacking. To provide a detailed reconstruction of coastal marine ecosystem change over the Holocene and study its linkages to climate and terrestrial freshwater inputs, organic-walled palynomorphs (including e.g. dinoflagellate cysts and pollen) and some basic geochemistry (including e.g. total organic carbon, C:N ratio, biogenic silica and stable isotopes of carbon and nitrogen) were examined from two radiometrically dated sediment cores from Young Sound fjord, Northeast Greenland. The results indicate that the near-shore marine ecosystem in Young Sound is clearly influenced by local forcings, such as terrestrial freshwater and organic matter inputs, during the Holocene. The results also illustrate that these terrestrial inputs affect the ecosystem structure and at least some dimension of ecosystem productivity. This study demonstrates that increasing number of fjords with only land-terminating glaciers in the future will affect marine productivity and ecosystem structure in Greenland’s fjord systems, with potential impacts on biodiversity and important fisheries. Studying past ecosystem changes in different fjord systems, and complementing marine records with proxies for terrestrial inputs, would further help constrain the future scenarios along the Greenland shore.