Compositional turnover and variation in Eemian pollen sequences in Europe

  • Vivian A. FeldeEmail author
  • Suzette G. A. Flantua
  • Cathy R. Jenks
  • Blas M. Benito
  • Jacques-Louis de Beaulieu
  • Petr Kuneš
  • Donatella Magri
  • Dorota Nalepka
  • Bjørg Risebrobakken
  • Cajo J. F. ter Braak
  • Judy R. M. Allen
  • Wojciech Granoszewski
  • Karin F. Helmens
  • Brian Huntley
  • Ona Kondratienė
  • Laimdota Kalniņa
  • Mirosława Kupryjanowicz
  • Małgorzata Malkiewicz
  • Alice M. Milner
  • Małgorzata Nita
  • Bożena Noryśkiewicz
  • Irena A. Pidek
  • Maurice Reille
  • J. Sakari Salonen
  • Vaida Šeirienė
  • Hanna Winter
  • Polychronis C. Tzedakis
  • H. John B. Birks
Short Communication


The Eemian interglacial represents a natural experiment on how past vegetation with negligible human impact responded to amplified temperature changes compared to the Holocene. Here, we assemble 47 carefully selected Eemian pollen sequences from Europe to explore geographical patterns of (1) total compositional turnover and total variation for each sequence and (2) stratigraphical turnover between samples within each sequence using detrended canonical correspondence analysis, multivariate regression trees, and principal curves. Our synthesis shows that turnover and variation are highest in central Europe (47–55°N), low in southern Europe (south of 45°N), and lowest in the north (above 60°N). These results provide a basis for developing hypotheses about causes of vegetation change during the Eemian and their possible drivers.


Detrended canonical correspondence analysis Extrinsic and intrinsic processes Inertia Last interglacial dataset Multivariate regression trees Neutral processes Principal curves 



We thank Konrad Wolowski for granting us access to the Polish Pleistocene Pollen Database. We are also very grateful to the European Pollen Database ( and the invaluable work of the EPD data contributors and the EPD community for making EPD data publicly available. HJBB is indebted to Hilary Birks for many valuable discussions. HJBB, SGAF, and CRJ are supported by the ERC Advanced Grant 741413 Humans on Planet Earth (HOPE). VAF is supported by IGNEX-eco (6166) funded by VISTA—a basic research program in collaboration between The Norwegian Academy of Science and Letters, and Equinor; BB and BR are supported by NFR project IGNEX (249894). This paper is a contribution to the IGNEX and IGNEX-eco projects.

Supplementary material

334_2019_726_MOESM1_ESM.docx (1011 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (DOCX 1011 KB)


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Biological SciencesUniversity of BergenBergenNorway
  2. 2.Aix Marseille Université, Avignon Université, CNRS, IRD, IMBEAix-en-ProvenceFrance
  3. 3.Department of Botany, Faculty of ScienceCharles UniversityPragueCzech Republic
  4. 4.Department of Environmental BiologySapienza University of RomeRomeItaly
  5. 5.Department of Palaeobotany, W. Szafer Institute of BotanyPolish Academy of SciencesKrakówPoland
  6. 6.NORCE Norwegian Research Centre, Bjerknes Centre for Climate ResearchBergenNorway
  7. 7.BiometrisWageningen University and ResearchWageningenThe Netherlands
  8. 8.Department of BiosciencesDurham UniversityDurhamUK
  9. 9.Polish Geological Institute, National Research InstituteKrakówPoland
  10. 10.Department of Physical Geography and the Bolin Centre for Climate ResearchStockholm UniversityStockholmSweden
  11. 11.Nature Research CentreInstitute of Geology and GeographyVilniusLithuania
  12. 12.Faculty of Geography and Earth SciencesUniversity of LatviaRigaLatvia
  13. 13.Department of Palaeobotany, Institute of BiologyUniversity of BiałystokBiałystokPoland
  14. 14.Laboratory of Paleobotany, Department of Stratigraphical Geology, Institute of Geological SciencesUniversity of WrocławWrocławPoland
  15. 15.Department of GeographyRoyal Holloway, University of LondonEghamUK
  16. 16.Department of Fundamental Geology, Faculty of Earth SciencesUniversity of SilesiaSosnowiecPoland
  17. 17.Faculty of Earth SciencesNicolaus Copernicus University in ToruńToruńPoland
  18. 18.Faculty of Earth Sciences and Spatial ManagementM. Curie Skłodowska UniversityLublinPoland
  19. 19.Department of Geosciences and GeographyUniversity of HelsinkiHelsinkiFinland
  20. 20.Polish Geological Institute and National Research InstituteWarszawaPoland
  21. 21.Environmental Change Research Centre, Department of GeographyUniversity College LondonLondonUK
  22. 22.Bjerknes Centre for Climate ResearchUniversity of BergenBergenNorway

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