Vegetation dynamics in the Northeastern Mediterranean region during the past 23 000 yr: insights from a new pollen record from the Sea of Marmara
- 1Ecole Pratique des Hautes Etudes, CNRS EPOC – UMR5805, Université Bordeaux 1, Avenue des Facultés, 33405 Talence, France
- 2Institut des Sciences de l'Evolution de Montpellier (ISEM), Département Paléoenvironnements et Paléoclimats, UMR5554, Université Montpellier 2, Bat. 22, CC061, Place Eugène Bataillon, 34095 Montpellier cedex 5, France
- 3Université Bordeaux 1, CNRS EPOC – UMR5805, Avenue des Facultés, 33405 Talence, France
- *present address: Institut des Sciences de l'Evolution de Montpellier, Département Paléoenvironnements et Paléoclimats, UMR5554, Université Montpellier 2, Bat. 22, CC061, Place Eugène Bataillon, 34095 Montpellier cedex 5, France
Abstract. High-resolution pollen analysis of core MD01-2430 from the Sea of Marmara (40°47.81' N, 27°43.51' E) allows us to reconstruct the vegetation response to climatic changes during the past 23 cal ka in the Northeastern Mediterranean. Variation in mesic/temperate forest cover indicates major climatic shifts connected to Heinrich Stadial 1, Bölling-Allerød, Younger Dryas and to the onset of the Holocene. Pollen–anthropogenic indicator approach was used to recognize human-induced landscape changes in the Sea of Marmara. The pollen-inferred onset of the Holocene occurs at ca. 11.5 cal ka, indicating that the Northeastern Mediterranean region represents a transitional zone where higher moisture availability supported an earlier forest expansion than the borderlands of the Aegean Sea and Black Sea. Two major forest retreats occurred during the Holocene at ca. 5.5 and 2.1 cal ka. The Holocene forest setbacks are in phase with previously published alkenone-inferred sea-surface temperature decreases in the Sea of Marmara reconstructed from the same core. Our new pollen record testifies the sensitivity of Mediterranean forests to changes in moisture availability, which is driven by changes in high-latitude atmospheric processes (North Atlantic Oscillations and/or Siberian High).