The potential of stomata analysis in conifers to estimate presence of conifer trees: examples from the Alps

Ammann, Brigitta; van der Knaap, Willem Oscar; Lang, Gerhard; Gaillard, Marie-Jose; Boltshauser-Kaltenrieder, Petra; Roesch, Manfred; Finsinger, Walter; Wright, Herbert E.; Tinner, Willy (2014). The potential of stomata analysis in conifers to estimate presence of conifer trees: examples from the Alps. Vegetation History and Archaeobotany, 23(2), pp. 249-264. Springer 10.1007/s00334-014-0431-9

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To estimate whether or not a plant taxon found in the fossil record was locally present may be difficult if only pollen is analyzed. Plant macrofossils, in contrast, provide a clear indication of a taxon's local presence, although in some lake sediments or peats, macrofossils may be rare or degraded. For conifers, the stomata found on pollen slides are derived from needles and thus provide a valuable proxy for local presence and they can be identified to genus level. From previously published studies, a transect across the Alps based on 13 sites is presented. For basal samples in sandy silt above the till with high pollen values of Pinus, for example, we may distinguish pine pollen from distant sources (samples with no stomata), from reworked pollen (samples with stomata present). The first apparent local presence of most conifer genera based on stomata often but not always occurs together with the phase of rapid pollen increase (rational limit). An exception is Larix, with its annual deposition of needles and heavy poorly dispersed pollen, for it often shows the first stomata earlier, at the empirical pollen limit. The decline and potential local extinction of a conifer can sometimes be shown in the stomata record. The decline may have been caused by climatic change, competition, or human impact. In situations where conifers form the timberline, the stomata record may indicate timberline fluctuations. In the discussion of immigration or migration of taxa we advocate the use of the cautious term ``apparent local presence'' to include some uncertainties. Absence of a taxon is impossible to prove.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)

Division/Institute:

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

UniBE Contributor:

Ammann, Brigitta; van der Knaap, Willem Oscar; Boltshauser-Kaltenrieder, Petra and Tinner, Willy

Subjects:

500 Science > 580 Plants (Botany)
500 Science > 550 Earth sciences & geology

ISSN:

0939-6314

Publisher:

Springer

Language:

English

Submitter:

Peter Alfred von Ballmoos-Haas

Date Deposited:

27 Apr 2014 15:28

Last Modified:

25 Nov 2015 09:37

Publisher DOI:

10.1007/s00334-014-0431-9

Uncontrolled Keywords:

Stomata, Conifers, Presence-absence of plant taxa, Apparent local presence, European Alps

BORIS DOI:

10.7892/boris.51397

URI:

https://boris.unibe.ch/id/eprint/51397

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