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Terrestrial and aquatic ecosystem responses to late Holocene climate change recorded in the sediments of Lochan Uaine, Cairngorms, Scotland

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Basil Davis


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We summarise the results of a range of sediment-based studies at Lochan Uaine, a remote corrie lake in the heart of the Cairngorm massif in Scotland. The site lies above the Holocene forest limit and has been minimally affected by human activities. The results presented are mainly based on magnetic measurements, element analysis, granulometry, organic geochemical analysis and pollen analysis carried out over a period of some 15 years. The magnetic properties and element concentrations record a coherent sequence of changes reflecting mainly stages in catchment erosion. In terms of the chronology developed for the sedimentary record from the site, increases in allochthonous, minerogenic sediment delivery to the lake occurred around 1000 BC, AD 330-480 and AD 1260-1410. The only notable change in the pollen diagram records a period of deforestation at lower altitude predating the last of the periods of increased erosion. The organic geochemistry analyses record a series of higher frequency responses in the aquatic ecosystem, already noted in previous papers, e.g. Battarbee et al. (2001). These include fluctuations in organic carbon content and in the concentrations of biomarkers indicative of changing lake productivity. Both the terrestrial and aquatic ecosystem responses are superimposed on a longer-term trend of declining aquatic productivity, progressive catchment weathering and increasing erosion. The sediments of Lochan Uaine thus appear to have recorded complex system responses on three timescales reflecting (a) the long term decline in northern hemisphere insolation during the Holocene, (b) the millennial scale forcing of the kind found in many other mid-late Holocene records and (c) much shorter term, quasi-cyclic but clearly a-periodic sub-millennial fluctuations. © 2010 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Oldfield F, Battarbee R, Boyle J, Cameron N, Davis B, Evershed R, McGovern A, Jones V, Thompson R, Walker (nee Wake) R R

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Quaternary Science Reviews

Year: 2010

Volume: 29

Issue: 7-8

Pages: 1040-1054

Print publication date: 18/02/2010

ISSN (print): 0277-3791

ISSN (electronic): 1873-457X

Publisher: Pergamon


DOI: 10.1016/j.quascirev.2010.01.007


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