All together now: an international palynological team documents vegetation and climate changes during the last 500 kyr at lake Ohrid (SE Europe)#

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Authors
Adele BERTINI, Laura SADORI, Nathalie COMBOURIEU-NEBOUT, Timme H. DONDERS, Katerina KOULI, Andreas KOUTSODENDRIS, Sébastien JOANNIN, Alessia MASI, Anna Maria MERCURI, Kostantinos PANAGIOTOPOULOS, Odile PEYRON, Gaia SINOPOLI, Paola TORRI,Giovanni ZANCHETTA
Issue
29(2)
Pages
201-210
Abstract
Lake Ohrid (Balkan peninsula) is the oldest European extant lake and one of the deepest and largest. Such a unique, terrestrial natural archive is especially relevant for both paleoenvironmental and paleoclimatic reconstructions but also for genetic studies. In the frame of the International Continental Scientific Drilling Program (ICDP), a deep drilling campaign was carried out within the scope of the Scientific Collaboration on Past Speciation Conditions in Lake Ohrid (SCOPSCO) project in 2013. Here, we present the summary of palynological analyses carried out in the upper 200 m of the overall 569 m long DEEP site sediment succession from the central part of the lake. These studies, performed by an international palynological team, document the main floristic, vegetation and climate changes during the last ca 500 kyr, at a millennial-scale resolution (~1.6 kyr). The continuous sediment infill permitted to trace multiple non-forested/ forested phases as a response to Glacial/Interglacial cycles as well as to sub-Milankovitch climate changes. The pollen record, corresponding with marine isotope stages MIS 13 to MIS 1, points to a progressive change from cooler and wetter to warmer and drier interglacials. New palynological studies are underway to reconstruct vegetational and climatic conditions over older intervals as well as to obtain high resolution data for some key intervals such as MIS 5-6, MIS 11-12, MIS 35-42. The complete record of changes in flora composition and vegetation during both glacials and interglacials will furnish indispensable insights for understanding the role of refugia, ecosystem resilience and maintenance of terrestrial biodiversity in the Mediterranean area.
Keywords
Lake Ohrid, pollen, flora, vegetation, climate, Pleistocene, Balkan peninsula
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