CEES Extra seminar: High resolution ancient sedimentary DNA shows that alpine plant biodiversity is a result of human land use

By Sandra Garces Pastor from UiT The Arctic University of Norway


Alpine areas are highly diverse, but their future may be threatened by expanding forest and changing human land use. We reconstructed past vegetation, climate, and livestock over the past ~12,000 years from Lake Sulsseewli (European Alps), based on sedimentary ancient DNA, pollen, spores, chironomids, and microcharcoal. We assembled a highly-complete local DNA reference library (PhyloAlps, 3,923 plant species), and used this to obtain an exceptionally rich sedaDNA record of 366 plant taxa. The vegetation mainly responded to temperature during the first half of the Holocene, while human activity drove changes from 6 ka onwards. Land-use shifted from episodic grazing (Neolithic, Bronze Age) to intensive agropastoralism (Medieval Age). This prompted a coexistence of species typically found at different elevational belts, thereby increasing plant richness to levels that characterise present-day alpine diversity. Our results indicate that agropastoral activities should be maintained to prevent reforestation and preserve alpine plant biodiversity.
The seminar will take place in room 4613 (Sars) but can also be followed on ZOOM (see below).


Sandra Garces Pastor, UiT The Arctic University of Norway

Zoom link

The zoom link has been shared through the CEES seminar mailing list. UiO. Contact us if you would like to be forwarded the invitation e-mail or to subscribe to the list. (Contact Tore Wallem). UiO users can access the Zoom meeting details at this page.

Published Dec. 6, 2021 10:30 AM - Last modified Dec. 6, 2021 10:31 AM