Tracking Environmental Change Using Lake Sediments

Volume 5 of the series Developments in Paleoenvironmental Research pp 495-522


Analogue Methods in Palaeolimnology

  • Gavin L. SimpsonAffiliated withEnvironmental Change Research Centre, University College London Email author 

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Analogue methods in palaeolimnology consist of the modern analogue technique (MAT) as a means of reconstructing quantitatively past environments from proxy stratigraphical biological data and analogue matching (AM) as a means of comparing fossil assemblages with modern assemblages to inform environmental conservation and restoration of degraded lakes. The mathematics of MAT are presented and problems of spatial autocorrelation on MAT’s performance statistics are reviewed.

Analogue matching using one or more proxies (e.g., diatoms, cladocerans) and the choice of appropriate dissimilarity measures are discussed. Various approaches to answering the question how many analogues (k) should be used for environmental reconstructions or to set restoration targets are discussed. These include choosing k to optimise some error function such as root mean squared error of prediction, finding ‘jumps’ in the dissimilarity values, examining the reference distributions of all the modern dissimilarities, Monte Carlo resampling, constructing Receiver Operating Characteristic (ROC) curves, and applying logistic regression analyses. The use of analogue matching as a tool to help evaluate palaeoenvironmental reconstructions is outlined. Suitable software and directions for future work are discussed.


Analogue matching Analogue selection criteria Dissimilarity Environmental reconstruction Logistic regression Modern analogue technique Monte Carlo resampling Receiver operating characteristic (ROC) curves Reconstruction evaluation Software Spatial autocorrelation