Refugia of marine fish in the northeast Atlantic during the last glacial maximum: concordant assessment from archaeozoology and palaeotemperature reconstructions
- 1Department of Earth Science, SUNY-Oswego, Oswego, New York, USA
- 2Laboratorio de Arqueozoologia, Universidad Autonoma de Madrid, Madrid, Spain
- 3Boesselstrasse 9, 24937 Flensburg, Germany
- 4Center for Ecological and Evolutionary Synthesis, Department of Biology, University of Oslo, Oslo, Norway
Abstract. Archaeozoological finds of the remains of marine and amphihaline fish from the Last Glacial Maximum (LGM) ca. 21 ka ago show evidence of very different species ranges compared to the present. We have shown how an ecological niche model (ENM) based on palaeoclimatic reconstructions of sea surface temperature and bathymetry can be used to effectively predict the spatial range of marine fish during the LGM. The results indicate that the ranges of marine fish species now in northwestern Europe were displaced significantly southwards from the modern distribution, challenging an existing paradigm of marine glacial refugia. The model presents strong evidence that there was an invasion of important fish through the Straits of Gibraltar in glacial times, where they were exploited by Palaeolithic human populations around the western Mediterranean Sea. The ENM results are important for ongoing studies of molecular ecology that aim to assess marine glacial refugia from the genetic structure of living populations, and they pose questions about the genetic identity of vanished marine populations during the LGM. Economically, the approach may be used to understand how the ranges of exploited fish species may be displaced with the future climate warming. The research presents a challenge for future archaeozoological work to delimit the glacial refugia and to verify palaeoclimatic reconstructions based on deep-sea core records.