Journal of Paleolimnology

, Volume 53, Issue 1, pp 139–156 | Cite as

Pollen, biomarker and stable isotope evidence of late Quaternary environmental change at Lake McKenzie, southeast Queensland

  • Pia Atahan
  • Henk Heijnis
  • John Dodson
  • Kliti Grice
  • Pierre Le Métayer
  • Kathryn Taffs
  • Sarah Hembrow
  • Martijn Woltering
  • Atun Zawadzki
Original paper

Abstract

Unravelling links between climate change and vegetation response during the Quaternary is important if the climate–environment interactions of modern systems are to be fully understood. Using a sediment core from Lake McKenzie, Fraser Island, we reconstruct changes in the lake ecosystem and surrounding vegetation over the last ca. 36.9 cal kyr. Evidence is drawn from multiple sources, including pollen, micro-charcoal, biomarker and stable isotope (C and N) analyses, and is used to gain a better understanding of the nature and timing of past ecological changes that have occurred at the site. The glacial period of the record, from ca. 36.9 to 18.3 cal kyr BP, is characterised by an increased abundance of plants of the aquatic and littoral zone, indicating lower lake water levels. High abundance of biomarkers and microfossils of the colonial green alga Botryococcus occurred at this time and included large variation in individual botryococcene δ13C values. A slowing or ceasing of sediment accumulation occurred during the time period from ca. 18.3 to 14.0 cal kyr BP. By around 14.0 cal kyr BP fire activity in the area was reduced, as was abundance of littoral plants and terrestrial herbs, suggesting wetter conditions from that time. The Lake McKenzie pollen record conforms to existing records from Fraser Island by containing evidence of a period of reduced effective precipitation that commenced in the mid-Holocene.

Keywords

Quaternary Botryococcus Pollen Palaeoecology Fraser Island Southeast Queensland 

Supplementary material

10933_2014_9813_MOESM1_ESM.doc (33 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (DOC 33 kb)

References

  1. Appleby PG (2001) Chronostratigraphic techniques in recent sediments. In: Last WM, Smol JP (eds) Tracking environmental change using lake sediments, volume 1: basin analysis, coring and chronological techniques. Kluwer, Dordrecht, pp 171–203Google Scholar
  2. Appleby PG, Oldfield F (1978) The calculation of lead-210 dates assuming a constant rate of supply of unsupported 210Pb to the sediment. Catena 5:1–8CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Appleby PG, Oldfield F (1992) Application of 210Pb to sediment studies. In: Ivonavich M, Harmon RS (eds) Uranium-series disequilibrium: applications to earth, marine and environmental science. Oxford University Press, Oxford, pp 731–778Google Scholar
  4. Australasian Pollen and Spore Atlas (2013) Australasian Pollen and Spore Atlas. Canberra, ACT, Australia. http://apsa.anu.edu.au/
  5. Australian Bureau of Meteorology (2013) Australian Government. http://www.bom.gov.au/
  6. Barr C, Tibby J, Marshall JC, McGregor GB, Moss PT, Halverson GP, Fluin J (2013) Combining monitoring, models and palaeolimnology to assess ecosystem response to environmental change at monthly to millennial timescales: the stability of Blue Lake, North Stradbroke Island, Australia. Freshw Biol 58:1614–1630CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Bianchi TS, Canuel EA (2011) Chemical biomarkers in aquatic ecosystems. Princeton University Press, PrincetonCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Bjorck S, Wohlfarth B (2001) 14C chronostratigraphic techniques in paleolimnology. In: Last WM, Smol JP (eds) Tracking environmental change using lake sediments. Volume 1: basin analysis, coring and chronological techniques. Kluwer, Dordrecht, pp 205–245Google Scholar
  9. Bohlke JK, Coplen TB (1995) Interlaboratory comparison of reference materials for nitrogen isotope ratio measurements, taken from an IAEA technical report, references and intercomparison materials for stable isotopes of light elements. IAEA-TECHDOC-825, September 1995Google Scholar
  10. Bostock HC, Opdyke BN, Gagan MK, Kiss AE, Fifield LK (2006) Glacial/interglacial changes in the East Australian current. Clim Dyn 26:645–659CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Bowdler S (2010) The empty coast: conditions for human occupation in southeast Australia during the late Pleistocene. In: Haberle S, Stevenson J, Prebble M (eds) Altered ecologies: fire climate and human influence. Terra Australis 32. ANU EPress, Canberra, pp 178–186Google Scholar
  12. Bowling LC (1988) Optical properties, nutrients and phytoplankton of freshwater coastal dune lakes in south-east Queensland. Aust J Freshw Res 39:805–815CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Bronk Ramsey C (2008) Deposition models for chronological records. Quat Sci Rev 27:42–60CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Bronk Ramsey C (2009) Bayesian analysis of radiocarbon dates. Radiocarbon 51:337–360Google Scholar
  15. Clark RL (1982) Point count estimation of charcoal in pollen preparations and thin sections of sediment. Pollen Spores 24:523–535Google Scholar
  16. Cook EJ, Van Geel B, Van der Kaars S, van Arkel J (2011) A review of the use of non-pollen palynomorphs in palaeoecology with examples from Australia. Palynology 35:155–178CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Coplen TB, Brand WA, Gehre M, Gröning M, Meijer HAJ, Toman B, Verkouteren RM (2006) After two decades a second anchor for the VPDB δ13C scale. Rapid Commun Mass Spectrom 20:3165–3166CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. de Mesmay R, Metzger P, Grossi V, Derenne S (2008) Mono- and dicyclic unsaturated triterpenoid hydrocarbons in sediments from Lake Masoko (Tanzania) widely extend the botryococcene family. Org Geochem 39:879–893CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Donders TH, Wagner F, Visscher H (2006) Late Pleistocene and Holocene subtropical vegetation dynamics recorded in perched lake deposits on Fraser Island, Queensland, Australia. Palaeogeogr Palaeoclim Palaeoecol 241:417–439CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Donders TH, Haberle SG, Hope G, Wagner F, Visscher H (2007) Pollen evidence for the transition of the Eastern Australian climate system from the post-glacial to the present-day ENSO mode. Quat Sci Rev 26:1621–1637CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Eglinton TI, Eglinton G (2008) Molecular proxies for paleoclimatology. Earth Planet Sci Lett 275:1–16CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Eglinton G, Hamilton RJ (1967) Leaf epicuticular waxes. Science 156:1322–1335CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Gao M, Simoneit BRT, Gantar M, Jaffé R (2007) Occurrence and distribution of novel botryococcene hydrocarbons in freshwater wetlands of the Florida Everglades. Chemosphere 70:224–236CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Grice K, Schouten S, Nissenbaum A, Charrach J, Sinninghe Damsté JS (1998) A remarkable paradox: sulfurised freshwater algal (Botryococcus braunii) lipids in an ancient hypersaline euxinic ecosystem. Org Geochem 28:195–216CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Grice K, Audino M, Boreham CJ, Alexander R, Kagi RI (2001) Distribution and stable carbon isotopic compositions of biomarkers in torbanites from different palaeogeographical locations. Org Geochem 32:1195–1210CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Grimm EC (1987) Coniss: a fortran 77 program for stratigraphically constrained cluster analysis by the method of incremental sum of squares. Comput Geosci 13:13–35CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Grimm EC (1992) Tilia and Tilia-graph: pollen spreadsheet and graphics programs. In: Program and abstracts, 8th international palynological congress, Aix-en-Provence [France]Google Scholar
  28. Grossi V, de Mesmay R, Bardoux G, Metzger P, Williamson D, Derenne S (2012) Contrasting variations in the structure and stable carbon isotopic composition of botryococcenes through the last glacial-interglacial transition in Lake Masoko (southern Tanzania). Org Geochem 43:150–155CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Hadwen WL, Arthington AH, Mosisch TD (2003) The impact of tourism on dune lakes on Fraser Island, Australia. Lakes Reserv: Res Manag 8:15–26CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Harrison S, Dodson JR (1993) Climates of Australia and New Guinea since 18,000 yrs BP. In: Wright HE Jr, Kutzbach JE, Webb T III, Ruddiman WF, Street-Perrott FA, Bartlein PJ (eds) Global climates since the last glacial maximum. University of Minnesota Press, Minnesota, pp 265–293Google Scholar
  31. Hembrow S, Taffs KH (2012) Water quality changes in Lake McKenzie, Fraser Island, Australia: a palaeolimnological approach. Aust Geogr 43:291–302CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Hembrow S, Taffs K, Atahan P, Parr J, Zawadzki A, Heijnis H (2014) Diatom community response to climate variability over the past 37,000 years in the sub-tropics of the Southern Hemisphere. Sci Total Environ 468–469:774–784CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Hesse PP, Magee JW, van der Kaars S (2004) Late Quaternary climates of the Australian arid zone: a review. Quat Int 118–119:87–102CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Hua Q, Jacobsen GE, Zoppi U, Lawson EM, Williams AA, Smith AM, McGann MJ (2001) Progress in radiocarbon target preparation at the Antares AMS centre. Radiocarbon 43:275–282Google Scholar
  35. Huang Y, Street-Perrott FA, Perrott RA, Metzger P, Eglinton G (1999) Glacial-interglacial environmental changes inferred from molecular and compound-specific δ13C analyses of sediments from Sacred Lake, Mt. Kenya. Geochim Cosmochim Acta 63:1383–1404CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Lees B (2006) Timing and formation of coastal dunes in northern and eastern Australia. J Coast Res 22:78–89CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Longmore ME (1997) Quaternary palynological records from perched lake sediments, Fraser Island, Queensland, Australia: rainforest, forest history and climatic control. Aust J Bot 45:507–526CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Longmore ME (1998) The middle Holocene ‘dry’ anomaly on the mid-eastern coast of Australia: calibration of paleowater depth as a surrogate for effective precipitation using sedimentary loss on ignition in the perched lake sediments of Fraser Island. Palaeoclimates 3:135–160Google Scholar
  39. Longmore ME, Heijnis H (1999) Aridity in Australia: pleistocene records of palaeohydrological and palaeoecological change from the perched lake sediments of Fraser Island, Queensland, Australia. Quat Int 57–58:35–47CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Maxwell JR, Douglas AG, Eglinton G, McCormick A (1968) The botryococcenes—hydrocarbons of nove structure from the alga Botryococcus braunii Kützing. Phytochemistry 7:2157–2171CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. McGowan HA, Petherick LM, Kamber BS (2008) Aeolian sedimentation and climate variability during the late Quaternary in southeast Queensland, Australia. Palaeogeogr Palaeoclim Palaeoecol 265:171–181CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. McNiven I (1992) Sandblow sites in the Great Sandy Region, coastal southeast Queensland: implications for models of late Holocene rainforest exploitation and settlement restructuring. Qld Archaeol Res 9:1–16Google Scholar
  43. Metzger P, Largeau C, Casadevall E (1991) Lipids and mcaromolecular lipids of the hydrocarbon-rich microalga Botryococcus braunii. Prog Chem Org Nat Prod 57:1–70Google Scholar
  44. Moss PT, Tibby J, Petherick L, McGowan H, Barr C (2013) Late Quaternary vegetation history of North Stradbroke Island, Queensland, eastern Australia. Quat Sci Rev 74:257–272CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. Neal R, Stock E (1986) Pleistocene ocupation in the south-east Queensland coastal region. Nature 323:618–621CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. Newcastle Pollen Collection (2002) Newcastle Pollen Collection, Newcastle, NSW, Australia. http://www.geo.arizona.edu/palynology/nsw/index.html
  47. Petherick L, Bostock H, Cohen TJ, Fitzsimmons K, Tibby J, Fletcher MS, Moss P, Reeves J, Mooney S, Barrows T, Kemp J, Jansen J, Nanson G, Dosseto A (2013) Climatic records over the past 30 ka from temperate Australia—a synthesis from the OZ-INTIMATE workgroup. Quat Sci Rev 74:58–77CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. Pike KM (1956) Pollen morphology of Myrtaceae from the south-west Pacific area. Aust J Bot 4:13–53CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  49. Queensland Herbarium (2013) Regional Ecosystem Description Database (REDD). Version 6.1 (February 2013). Queensland Department of Science, Information Technology, Innovation and the Arts: BrisbaneGoogle Scholar
  50. Reeves JM, Barrows TT, Cohen TJ, Kiem AS, Bostock HC, Fitzsimmons KE, Jansen JD, Kemp J, Krause C, Petherick L, Phipps SJ (2013) Climate variability over the last 35,000 years recorded in marine and terrestrial archives in the Australian region: an OZ-INTIMATE compilation. Quat Sci Rev 74:21–34CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  51. Reimer PJ, Baillie MGL, Bard E, Bayliss A, Beck JW, Blackwell PG, Bronk Ramsey C, Buck CE, Burr GS, Edwards RL, Friedrich M, Grootes PM, Guilderson TP, Hajdas I, Heaton TJ, Hogg AG, Hughen KA, Kaiser KF, Kromer B, McCormac FG, Manning SW, Reimer RW, Richards DA, Southon JR, Talamo S, Turney CSM, van der Plicht J, Weyhenmeyer CE (2009) INTCAL09 and Marine 09 radiocarbon age calibration curves, 0-50,000 years cal BP. Radiocarbon 51:1111–1150Google Scholar
  52. Rieley G, Collier RJ, Jones DM, Eglinton G, Eakin PA, Fallick AE (1991) Sources of sedimentary lipids deduced from stable carbon-isotope analyses of individual compounds. Nature 352:425–427CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  53. Ryan TS (2012) Technical descriptions of regional ecosystems of Southeast Queensland. Queensland Herbarium, BrisbaneGoogle Scholar
  54. Sachs JP, Pahnke K, Smittenberg R, Zhang Z (2007) Biomarker indicators of past climate. In: Elias S (ed) Encyclopedia of Quaternary science. Elsevier, Amsterdam, pp 19–48Google Scholar
  55. Smith BN, Epstein S (1971) Two categories of 13C/12C ratios for higher plants. Plant Physiol 47:380–384CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  56. Smittenberg RH, Baas M, Schouten S, Sinninghe Damsté JS (2005) The demise of the alga Botryococcus braunii from a Norwegian fjord was due to early eutrophication. Holocene 15:133–140CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  57. Street-Perrott FA, Huang Y, Perrott RA, Eglinton G, Barker P, Khelifa LB, Harkness DD, Olago DO (1997) Impact of lower atmospheric carbon dioxide on tropical mountain ecosystems. Science 278:1422–1426CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  58. Tieszen LL (1991) Natural variations in the carbon isotope values of plants: implications for archaeology, ecology, and palaeoecology. J Archaeol Sci 18:227–248CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  59. Timms BV (1986) The coastal dune lakes of eastern Australia. In: De Deckker P, Williams WD (eds) Limnology in Australia. Springer, Nederlands, pp 421–432Google Scholar
  60. Ulm S (2011) Coastal foragers on southern shores: marine resource use in northeast Australia since the late Pleistocene. In: Bicho NF, Haws JA, Davis LG (eds) Trekking the shore: changing coastlines and the antiquity of coastal settlement. Springer, New York, pp 441–461CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  61. Ulm S, Hall J (1996) Radiocarbon and cultural chronologies in southeast Queensland prehistory. Tempus 6:45–62Google Scholar
  62. Vandergoes MJ, Prior CA (2003) AMS dating of pollen concentrates-a methodological study of late Quaternary sediments from south westland, New Zealand. Radiocarbon 45:479–491Google Scholar
  63. Verschuren D (2003) Lake-based climate reconstruction in Africa: progress and challenges. Hydrobiologia 500:315–330CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  64. Walker WG, Davidson GR, Lange T, Wren D (2007) Accurate lacustrine and wetland sediment accumulation rates determined from 14C activity of bulk sediment fractions. Radiocarbon 49:983–992Google Scholar
  65. Williams M, Cook E, van der Kaars S, Barrows T, Shulmeister J, Kershaw P (2009) Glacial and deglacial climatic patterns in Australia and surrounding regions from 35,000 to 10,000 years ago reconstructed from terrestrial and near-shore proxy data. Quat Sci Rev 28:2398–2419CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  66. Woltering M, Atahan P, Grice K, Heijnis H, Taffs K, Dodson J (2014) Glacial and Holocene terrestrial temperature variability in subtropical east Australia: branched GDGT distributions in a sediment core from Lake McKenzie. Quat Res 82:132–145CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Pia Atahan
    • 1
    • 2
  • Henk Heijnis
    • 1
  • John Dodson
    • 1
  • Kliti Grice
    • 2
  • Pierre Le Métayer
    • 2
  • Kathryn Taffs
    • 3
  • Sarah Hembrow
    • 3
  • Martijn Woltering
    • 2
  • Atun Zawadzki
    • 1
  1. 1.Institute for Environmental ResearchAustralian Nuclear Science and Technology OrganisationKirrawee DC, SydneyAustralia
  2. 2.Department of Chemistry, WA-Organic and Isotope Geochemistry CentreCurtin UniversityPerthAustralia
  3. 3.Southern Cross Geoscience and School of Environment, Science and EngineeringSouthern Cross UniversityLismoreAustralia

Personalised recommendations