Cryptic refugia vs. Tabula Rasa: Boreal trees in glacial Fennoscandia: Plant growth during the Weichselian glaciation and the early Holocene in northern Europe
Independent thesis Advanced level (degree of Master (Two Years)), 10 credits / 15 HE creditsStudent thesis
Recent studies applying innovative technologies, such as genetic analysis and carbon dating, contradict the palynological based assumption that Scots pine (Pinus sylvestris) and Norway spruce (Picea abies) vanished from Fennoscandia during the Last Glacial Maximum (c. 20.000 yrs BP) and re-colonized after the cold Younger Dryas (c. 12.000 yrs BP). Instead, those studies indicate glacial survival of boreal trees in ‘cryptic’ refugia within Scandinavia, which is still heavily debated. In this report, I try to get a better grip on the discussion if Norway spruce and Scots pine survived Weichselian glacial periods in isolated ‘cryptic’ refugia within Scandinavia, or either re-colonized Fennoscandia by post-glacial migration from eastern areas such as Russia. To this aim, climatic settings are described and an overview is given on what is already known on the distribution of boreal trees during the Weichselian glaciations and the post-glacial landscape. Several records are important to detect ancient boreal trees: pollen, macrofossils and currently DNA. Macrofossils indicate early post-glacial tree growth in the central Scandes just after the Younger Dryas, aDNA indicates the existence of a ‘cryptic’ refugium on Andøya during the Last Glacial Maximum and modern DNA analysis possibly indicates isolation of spruce in western Norway, which are all contradicted by the current interpretation of low pollen percentages. Altogether, alternative hypotheses supporting glacial survival of plants might have been overlooked and pollen interpretations need revision, which could turn the exclusion from the past into supporting evidence for the glacial survival of P. abies and P. sylvestris in Scandinavia.
Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2016. , 33 p.
boreal trees, Fennoscandia, cryptic refugia, Weichselian, glacial survival
IdentifiersURN: urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-114505OAI: oai:DiVA.org:umu-114505DiVA: diva2:896459
Subject / course