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The interpretation of fen carr pollen diagrams: pollen-vegetation relationships within fen carr.

Waller, MP, Binney, HA, Bunting, MJ and Armitage, RP 2005, 'The interpretation of fen carr pollen diagrams: pollen-vegetation relationships within fen carr.' , Review of Palaeobotany and Palynology, 133 (3-4) , pp. 179-202.

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Abstract

Sediments deposited in fen carr environments are frequently used in pollen-based reconstructions of vegetation history, although few studies of modern pollen–vegetation relationships in fen carr have been undertaken to aid the interpretation of fossil assemblages. It is often assumed that the wetland pollen signal will reflect the overall composition of the fen carr system although, given the closed canopy context, it may actually be dominated by local vegetation elements. This paper seeks to determine whether the vegetation heterogeneity within a modern fen carr is reflected in the pollen signal of the wetland taxa. Vegetation composition was recorded around a series of moss polster sample points at Calthorpe and Wheatfen, two areas of fen carr in the Norfolk Broadland, UK. The spatial interrelationship between the wetland components of the vegetation and their palynological equivalents in the moss polster pollen assemblages is explored through trend surfaces and a correlation based statistical test (the Mantel Test). The representation of the major vegetation components in the pollen record is highly variable. Values for Alnus glutinosa, a dominant canopy species, range from 5.3% to 73% of total land pollen (TLP) at Calthorpe and 2.5–61% TLP at Wheatfen. In part, this variation reflects the enhanced input of pollen from dry land sources close to the wetland edge although the variation recorded at points equidistant from the dry land margin suggests that other processes are also influential. The strongest positive associations in the Mantel Test are for under-storey and ground flora elements that are poorly represented in the pollen record. Taxa for which there is no association include those with few vegetation occurrences and those for which a large proportion of the pollen appears to have been derived from outside the study areas. We conclude that modern pollen samples collected from fen carr broadly reflect the vegetation composition of the study areas. However, the input of pollen from fen carr species is spatially inconsistent. Differences between the sample points can be attributed to the distribution and pollination biology of the under-storey and ground flora elements and the structure of the vegetation around sites. The results caution against assuming that changes in the pollen representation of wetland taxa, in fossil sequences constructed from fen carr deposits, necessarily reflect changes in the overall composition of the community.

Item Type: Article
Themes: Subjects / Themes > Q Science > QK Botany
Subjects outside of the University Themes
Schools: Colleges and Schools > College of Science & Technology > School of the Built Environment
Colleges and Schools > College of Science & Technology > School of Environment and Life Sciences > Ecosystems and Environment Research Centre
Journal or Publication Title: Review of Palaeobotany and Palynology
Publisher: Elsevier
Refereed: Yes
ISSN: 0034-6667
Depositing User: H Kenna
Date Deposited: 09 Oct 2007 08:55
Last Modified: 20 Aug 2013 16:49
URI: http://usir.salford.ac.uk/id/eprint/725

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