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A late-glacial transition from Picea glauca to Picea mariana in southern New England

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  20 January 2017

Matts Lindbladh*
Southern Swedish Forest Research Centre, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Box 49, 230 53 Alnarp, Sweden
W. Wyatt Oswald
Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders, Emerson College, Boston, MA 02116-4624, USA Harvard Forest, Harvard University, Petersham, MA 01366, USA
David R. Foster
Harvard Forest, Harvard University, Petersham, MA 01366, USA
Edward K. Faison
Harvard Forest, Harvard University, Petersham, MA 01366, USA
Juzhi Hou
Department of Geological Sciences, Brown University, Providence, RI 02912, USA
Yongsong Huang
Department of Geological Sciences, Brown University, Providence, RI 02912, USA
*Corresponding author. E-mail (M. Lindbladh).


Picea is an important taxon in late-glacial pollen records from eastern North America, but little is known about which species of Picea were present. We apply a recently developed palynological method for discriminating the three Picea species in eastern North America to three records from New England. Picea glauca was dominant at ∼ 14,500–14,000 cal yr BP, followed by a transition to Picea mariana between ∼ 14,000 and 13,500 cal yr BP. Comparison of the pollen data with hydrogen isotope data shows clearly that this transition began before the beginning of the Younger Dryas Chronozone. The ecological changes of the late-glacial interval were not a simple oscillation in the position of a single species' range, but rather major changes in vegetation structure and composition occurring during an interval of variations in several environmental factors, including climate, edaphic conditions, and atmospheric CO2 levels.

Short Paper
University of Washington

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