Tracing climate shifts using Sediment DNA from Hall’s Cave, Texas

Thursday 30 September 2021 13.30 – 14.30

William-Olsson lecture hall and by Zoom

Speaker: Anna Linderholm, Researcher at the Department of Geological Sciences

We will try to make this a hybrid event with a face-to-face seminar in the William-Olsson lecture hall and broadcasting from ZOOM.

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Large-scale changes in global climate at the end of the Pleistocene significantly impacted ecosystems across North America. However, the pace and scale of biotic turnover in response to both the Younger Dryas cold period and subsequent Holocene rapid warming have been challenging to assess because of the scarcity of well dated fossil and pollen records that covers this period. Here we present an ancient DNA record from Hall’s Cave, Texas, that documents 100 vertebrate and 45 plant taxa from bulk fossils and sediment. We show that local plant and animal diversity dropped markedly during Younger Dryas cooling, but while plant diversity recovered in the early Holocene, animal diversity did not. Instead, five extant and nine extinct large bodied animals disappeared from the region at the end of the Pleistocene. Our findings suggest that climate change affected the local ecosystem in Texas over the Pleistocene-Holocene boundary, but climate change on its own may not explain the disappearance of the megafauna at the end of the Pleistocene.

Researcher taking sampels from a inside a cave
Fieldwork in Hall’s Cave, Texas, sediment sampling done by Anna Linderholm.

IGV Seminar Series organizers
Wei-Li Hong,
Paola Manzotti,
Christian Stranne,

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