Biotic responses to rapid warming about 14,685 yr BP: Introduction to a case study at Gerzensee (Switzerland)

Ammann, Brigitta; von Grafenstein, Ulrich; van Raden, Ulrike J. (2013). Biotic responses to rapid warming about 14,685 yr BP: Introduction to a case study at Gerzensee (Switzerland). Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology, 391(Part B), pp. 3-12. Elsevier 10.1016/j.palaeo.2013.11.006

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The late-glacial climatic warming indicated in the Greenland ice-core record about 14,685 years before 1950 AD belongs to a type of very rapid high-amplitude warming similar the onsets of Dansgaard-Oeschger events during marine isotope stage 3 (MIS 3). In order to estimate the nature and rates of change of biotic responses to such a major climatic shift we need a reliable time scale as well as climatic indicators independent of the biota. Both are provided by a high-resolution oxygen-isotope record from precipitated carbonates of lake marl in Gerzensee, Switzerland (van Raden et al., 2013-this issue). On the basis of the assumption of synchronous climatic changes between Greenland and Gerzensee, the close correlation of the oxygen-isotope changes at the two sites allows the use of the NGRIP GICC05-timescale at Gerzensee (with the zero point at 1950 AD to maintain comparability with the numerous radiocarbon dates in Europe). The delta O-18-record measured in precipitated carbonates is checked and refined by the delta O-18 measured in mono-specific ostracod samples (Von Grafenstein et al., 2013-in this issue). The shift of 3.6 parts per thousand delta O-18 PDB in only about 112 years at the end of the GS-2 represents a very rapid temperature increase of at least 6.2 degrees C. This increase is confirmed by reconstructions based on transfer functions for pollen and chironomids by Lotter et al. (2012) (possibly 4-7 degrees C in the annual mean and 2-5 degrees C in summer temperatures). After this major shift the Greenland late-glacial interstadial GI-1 (corresponding to the regional biozones Bolling and Allerod) delta O-18-records of both Greenland and Gerzensee exhibit four minor fluctuations (about 1.0-1.2 parts per thousand delta O-18), of which the second and the fourth are especially clearly correlated with several of terrestrial records in the northern hemisphere. The oxygen-isotope record is used as a template for all these sediment- and bio-stratigraphies. The biotic responses may include at least five types of process: (1) changes in productivity of individuals (within a year or two), (2) changes in populations (usually somewhat slower, depending on life cycles and environmental constraints), (3) changes due to migration (often rather slow, depending again on life cycles and environmental constraints), (4) changes in the terrestrial and aquatic communities and (5) changes on the level of ecosystems (including pedogenesis, nutrient cycling, and species interactions). These biotic responses to the early rapid warming about 14.685 ka BP are elaborated in subsequent papers for plants, chironomids, ostracods, and Cladocera (Ammann et al., 2013-in this issue-a; Brooks and Heiri, 2013-this issue; Von Grafenstein et al., 2013-in this issue; Novakova et al., 2013-this issue). In addition, lake levels are reconstructed by Magny (2013-this issue) and vegetation dynamics and N2O-emissions are modelled (Lischke et al., 2013-this issue; Pfeiffer et al., 2013-this issue). The changes in the mammal fauna of the Swiss Plateau are summarized by Nielsen (2013-this issue). (C) 2013 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)


10 Strategic Research Centers > Oeschger Centre for Climate Change Research (OCCR)
08 Faculty of Science > Department of Biology > Institute of Plant Sciences (IPS) > Palaeoecology
08 Faculty of Science > Department of Biology > Institute of Plant Sciences (IPS)

UniBE Contributor:

Ammann, Brigitta


500 Science > 580 Plants (Botany)








Peter Alfred von Ballmoos-Haas

Date Deposited:

15 Jan 2018 11:58

Last Modified:

05 Dec 2022 15:08

Publisher DOI:


Uncontrolled Keywords:

Late-Glacial; Biotic responses to rapid warming; Bolling warming; Internal structure of the Bolling/Allerod; Late-glacial timescale by correlation to NGRIP; Southern Central Europe




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