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Fifty thousand years of arctic vegetation change and megafauna diet

Willerslev, E ; Davison, J ; Moora, M ; Zobel, E ; Coissac, E ; Edwards, M E ; Lorenzen, ED ; Vestergård, M ; Gussarova, G and Haile, J , et al. (2014) In Nature 506(7486). p.47-47
Abstract
Although it is generally agreed that the Arctic flora is among the youngest and least diverse on Earth, the processes that shaped it are poorly understood. Here we present 50 thousand years (kyr) of Arctic vegetation history, derived from the first large-scale ancient DNA metabarcoding study of circumpolar plant diversity. For this interval we also explore nematode diversity as a proxy for modelling vegetation cover and soil quality, and diets of herbivorous megafaunal mammals, many of which became extinct around 10 kyr bp (before present). For much of the period investigated, Arctic vegetation consisted of dry steppe-tundra dominated by forbs (non-graminoid herbaceous vascular plants). During the Last Glacial Maximum (25–15 kyr bp),... (More)
Although it is generally agreed that the Arctic flora is among the youngest and least diverse on Earth, the processes that shaped it are poorly understood. Here we present 50 thousand years (kyr) of Arctic vegetation history, derived from the first large-scale ancient DNA metabarcoding study of circumpolar plant diversity. For this interval we also explore nematode diversity as a proxy for modelling vegetation cover and soil quality, and diets of herbivorous megafaunal mammals, many of which became extinct around 10 kyr bp (before present). For much of the period investigated, Arctic vegetation consisted of dry steppe-tundra dominated by forbs (non-graminoid herbaceous vascular plants). During the Last Glacial Maximum (25–15 kyr bp), diversity declined markedly, although forbs remained dominant. Much changed after 10 kyr bp, with the appearance of moist tundra dominated by woody plants and graminoids. Our analyses indicate that both graminoids and forbs would have featured in megafaunal diets. As such, our findings question the predominance of a Late Quaternary graminoid-dominated Arctic mammoth steppe. (Less)
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@article{32b486c6-0307-4028-8d21-4e38263f7a6d,
  abstract     = {Although it is generally agreed that the Arctic flora is among the youngest and least diverse on Earth, the processes that shaped it are poorly understood. Here we present 50 thousand years (kyr) of Arctic vegetation history, derived from the first large-scale ancient DNA metabarcoding study of circumpolar plant diversity. For this interval we also explore nematode diversity as a proxy for modelling vegetation cover and soil quality, and diets of herbivorous megafaunal mammals, many of which became extinct around 10 kyr bp (before present). For much of the period investigated, Arctic vegetation consisted of dry steppe-tundra dominated by forbs (non-graminoid herbaceous vascular plants). During the Last Glacial Maximum (25–15 kyr bp), diversity declined markedly, although forbs remained dominant. Much changed after 10 kyr bp, with the appearance of moist tundra dominated by woody plants and graminoids. Our analyses indicate that both graminoids and forbs would have featured in megafaunal diets. As such, our findings question the predominance of a Late Quaternary graminoid-dominated Arctic mammoth steppe.},
  author       = {Willerslev, E and Davison, J and Moora, M and Zobel, E and Coissac, E and Edwards, M E and Lorenzen, ED and Vestergård, M and Gussarova, G and Haile, J and Craine, J and Gielly, L and Boessenkool, S and Epp, LS and Pearman, PB and Cheddadi, R and Murray, D and Bråthen, KA and Yoccoz, N and Binney, H and Crauaud, C and Wincker, P and Goslar, T and Alsos, IG and Bellemain, E and Brysting, AK and Elven, R and Sønstebø, JH and Murton, J and Sher, A and Rasmussen, M and Rasmussen, R and Mourier, T and Cooper, A and Austin, J and Möller, Per and Froese, D and Zazula, G and Pompanon, F and Rioux, D and Niderkorn, V and Tikhonov, A and Savvinov, G and Roberts, RG and MacPhee, RDE and Gilbert, MTG and Kjær, KH and Orlando, L and Brochmann, C and Taberlet, P},
  issn         = {0028-0836},
  language     = {eng},
  number       = {7486},
  pages        = {47--47},
  publisher    = {Nature Publishing Group},
  series       = {Nature},
  title        = {Fifty thousand years of arctic vegetation change and megafauna diet},
  url          = {http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/nature12921},
  doi          = {10.1038/nature12921},
  volume       = {506},
  year         = {2014},
}