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Ashley Abrook
Ashley
Abrook
PhD Research
2014
Past Life and Environments

Understanding the dynamics of vegetation: delineating drivers of change within periods of abrupt sub-­‐millenial climatic variability

Abrupt changes in climatic and environmental records are common within the Quaternary period; making them ideal research areas to investigate drivers of vegetation change. At present two competing hypotheses exist that seek to explain changes in vegetation, the dynamic equilibrium hypothesis and the disequilibrium hypothesis (Prentice et al., 1991). The former highlights allogenic climatic forcing, and associated secondary drivers including edaphic conditioning and wildfire, whereas the latter identifies autogenic factors, including population dynamics, plant-plant interactions and seed dispersal (Seddon et al., 2015). Whilst these two hypotheses may not be mutually exclusive, it is likely that the ultimate driver of vegetation is climate. However, if climate is driving vegetation change, it is currently unclear which specific climatic parameters force responses in vegetation. The Late-Glacial and early Holocene periods, within the British Isles, provide an ideal framework with temperature and vegetation oscillations demonstrating climatic and ecological complexity. This research will address what drives sub-millennial vegetation change through the generation of high-resolution palynological, palaeohydrological deuterium isotopic biomarker and macro-charcoal records. The generation and comparison of these records with additional palaeoclimatic data, from the same site, will disentangle whether climate, or which climatic parameter, drives vegetation change over sub-millennial climatic events.
Ian Matthews
RHUL
RHUL
Alice Milner
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ashley.abrook.14@ucl.ac.uk


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