Dating Antarctic ice sheet collapse: proposing a molecular genetic approach

Strugnell, Jan M., Pedro, Joel B., and Wilson, Nerida (2018) Dating Antarctic ice sheet collapse: proposing a molecular genetic approach. Quaternary Science Reviews, 179. pp. 153-157.

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Abstract

Sea levels at the end of this century are projected to be 0.26-0.98 m higher than today. The upper end of this range, and even higher estimates, cannot be ruled out because of major uncertainties in the dynamic response of polar ice sheets to a warming climate. Here, we propose an ecological genetics approach that can provide insight into the past stability and configuration of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet (WAIS). We propose independent testing of the hypothesis that a trans-Antarctic seaway occurred at the last interglacial. Examination of the genomic signatures of bottom-dwelling marine species using the latest methods can provide an independent window into the integrity of the WAIS more than 100,000 years ago. Periods of connectivity facilitated by trans-Antarctic seaways could be revealed by dating coalescent events recorded in DNA. These methods allow alternative scenarios to be tested against a fit to genomic data. Ideal candidate taxa for this work would need to possess a circumpolar distribution, a benthic habitat, and some level of genetic structure indicated by phylogeographical investigation. The purpose of this perspective piece is to set out an ecological genetics method to help resolve when the West Antarctic Ice Shelf last collapsed.

Item ID: 52080
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1873-457X
Keywords: Antarctic, West Antarctic Ice Sheet, marine ice sheet instability, interglacial, eemian, genetic
Funders: Thomas Davies Research Fund, ACE Foundation, Ferrig Pharmaceuticals, SCAR Biological Programme, European Community's Seventh Framework Programme (FP7)
Projects and Grants: FPT/2007-2013)/ERC 610055
Date Deposited: 21 Jan 2018 23:27
FoR Codes: 04 EARTH SCIENCES > 0406 Physical Geography and Environmental Geoscience > 040605 Palaeoclimatology @ 40%
04 EARTH SCIENCES > 0406 Physical Geography and Environmental Geoscience > 040602 Glaciology @ 30%
06 BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES > 0604 Genetics > 060411 Population, Ecological and Evolutionary Genetics @ 30%
SEO Codes: 96 ENVIRONMENT > 9603 Climate and Climate Change > 960306 Effects of Climate Change and Variability on Antarctic and Sub-Antarctic Environments (excl. Social Impacts) @ 40%
96 ENVIRONMENT > 9608 Flora, Fauna and Biodiversity > 960801 Antarctic and Sub-Antarctic Flora, Fauna and Biodiversity @ 30%
96 ENVIRONMENT > 9699 Other Environment > 969901 Antarctic and Sub-Antarctic Oceanography @ 30%
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