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Wetland sediments are valuable archives of environmental change but can be challenging to date. Terrestrial macrofossils are often sparse, resulting in radiocarbon (14C) dating of less desirable organic fractions. An alternative approach for capturing changes in atmospheric 14C is the use of terrestrial microfossils. We 14C date pollen microfossils from two Australian wetland sediment sequences and compare these to ages from other sediment fractions (n = 56). For the Holocene Lake Werri Berri record, pollen 14C ages are consistent with 14C ages on bulk sediment and humic acids (n = 14), whilst Stable Polycyclic Aromatic Carbon (SPAC) 14C ages (n = 4) are significantly younger. For Welsby Lagoon, pollen concentrate 14C ages (n = 21) provide a stratigraphically coherent sequence back to 50 ka BP. 14C ages from humic acid and >100 µm fractions (n = 13) are inconsistent, and often substantially younger than pollen ages. Our comparison of Bayesian age-depth models, developed in Oxcal, Bacon and Undatable, highlight the strengths and weaknesses of the different programs for straightforward and more complex chrono-stratigraphic records. All models display broad similarities but differences in modeled age-uncertainty, particularly when age constraints are sparse. Intensive dating of wetland sequences improves the identification of outliers and generation of robust age models, regardless of program used.
The timing and duration of the coldest period in the last glacial stage, often referred to as the last glacial maximum (LGM), has been observed to vary spatially and temporally. In Australia, this period is characterised by colder, and in some places more arid, climates than today. We applied Monte-Carlo change point analysis to all available continuous proxy records covering this period, primarily pollen records, from across Australia (n = 37) to assess this change. We find a significant change point occurred (within uncertainty) at 28.6 ± 2.8 ka in 25 records. We interpret this change as a shift to cooler climates, associated with a widespread decline in biological productivity. An additional change point occurred at 17.7 ± 2.2 ka in 24 records. We interpret this change as a shift towards warmer climates, associated with increased biological productivity. We broadly characterise the period between 28.6 (± 2.8) – 17.7 (± 2.2) ka as an extended period of maximum cooling, with low productivity vegetation that may have occurred as a combined response to reduced temperatures, lower moisture availability and atmospheric CO2. These results have implications for how the spatial and temporal coherence of climate change, in this case during the LGM, can be best interrogated and interpreted.
There is considerable evidence that the hippocampal system contributes both to (1) the temporary maintenance of memories and to (2) the processing of a particular type of memory representation. The findings on amnesia suggest that these two distinguishing features of hippocampal memory processing are orthogonal. Together with anatomical and physiological data, the neuropsychological findings support a model of cortico-hippocampal interactions in which the temporal and representational properties of hippocampal memory processing are mediated separately. We propose that neocortical association areas maintain shortterm memories for specific items and events prior to hippocampal processing as well as providing the final repositories of long-term memory. The parahippocampal region supports intermediate-term storage of individual items, and the hippocampal formation itself mediates an organization of memories according to relevant relationships among items. Hippocampal-cortical interactions produce (i) strong and persistent memories for events, including their constituent elements and the relationships among them, and (ii) a capacity to express memories flexibly across a wide range of circumstances.
Continuing commentary raised several issues concerning our proposal that the hippocampus, parahippocampal region, and cortical association areas mediate different aspects of memory function. Recent relevant findings strengthen our argument that neocortical areas and the parahippocampal region maintain persistent encodings of specific single items and that the hippocampus mediates representations of the relations among these items. The reciprocally and closely interconnected structures that compose the hippocampal memory system work interactively to support flexible memory expression that is relevant to the natural behavior of animals and to conscious recollection in humans.