Emerging biological archives can reveal ecological and climatic change in Antarctica

Strugnell, Jan M., Mcgregor, Helen, Wilson, Nerida G., Meredith, Karina T., Chown, Steven L., Lau, Sally C.Y., Robinson, Sharon A., and Saunders, Krystyna M. (2022) Emerging biological archives can reveal ecological and climatic change in Antarctica. Global Change Biology, 28 (22). pp. 6483-6508.

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Abstract

Anthropogenic climate change is causing observable changes in Antarctica and the Southern Ocean including increased air and ocean temperatures, glacial melt leading to sea-level rise and a reduction in salinity, and changes to freshwater water availability on land. These changes impact local Antarctic ecosystems and the Earth's climate system. The Antarctic has experienced significant past environmental change, including cycles of glaciation over the Quaternary Period (the past similar to 2.6 million years), Understanding Antarctica's paleoecosystems, and the corresponding paleoenvironments and climates that have shaped them, provides insight into present day ecosystem change, and importantly, helps constrain model projections of future change. Biological archives such as extant moss beds and peat profiles, biological proxies in lake and marine sediments, vertebrate animal colonies, and extant terrestrial and benthic marine invertebrates, complement other Antarctic paleoclimate archives by recording the nature and rate of past ecological change, the paleoenvironmental drivers of that change, and constrain current ecosystem and climate models. These archives provide invaluable information about terrestrial ice-free areas, a key location for Antarctic biodiversity, and the continental margin which is important for understanding ice sheet dynamics. Recent significant advances in analytical techniques (e.g., genomics, biogeochemical analyses) have led to new applications and greater power in elucidating the environmental records contained within biological archives. Paleoecological and paleoclimate discoveries derived from biological archives, and integration with existing data from other paleoclimate data sources, will significantly expand our understanding of past, present, and future ecological change, alongside climate change, in a unique, globally significant region.

Item ID: 76084
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1365-2486
Keywords: benthos, coalescent inference, lake sediments, mosses, paleoecology, peat, sclerochronology, Southern Ocean, stable isotopes, terrestrial invertebrate
Copyright Information: This is an open access article under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. © 2022 The Authors. Global Change Biology published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd.
Date Deposited: 21 Sep 2022 09:06
FoR Codes: 31 BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES > 3105 Genetics > 310509 Genomics @ 30%
41 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES > 4101 Climate change impacts and adaptation > 410199 Climate change impacts and adaptation not elsewhere classified @ 70%
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