A six thousand year record of climate and land-use change from Mediterranean seagrass mats

López-Merino, LourdesColás-Ruiz, Nieves R.Adame, María FernandaSerrano, OscarMartínez Cortizas, AntonioMateo, Miguel Ángel. Journal of Ecology : DOI:10.1111/1365-2745.12741 (2017)  DIGITAL CSIC


1.The Mediterranean seagrass Posidonia oceanica maintains a biodiverse ecosystem and it is a worldwide important carbon sink. It grows for millennia, accumulating organic-rich soils (mats) beneath the meadows. This marine habitat is protected by the European Union; however, it is declining rapidly due to coastal development. Understanding its response to disturbances could inform habitat restoration, but many environmental impacts predate monitoring programs (<50 years).

2. This research explores the palaeoecological potential of Posidonia mats to reconstruct six thousand years of environmental change that could have affected Posidonia meadows and, in turn, left an imprint on the mats.

3. Palynological, microcharcoal, magnetic susceptibility and glomalin-related soil protein (GRSP) analyses on Posidonia mats enabled us to detect climate- and humaninduced environmental processes impacting on the seagrass during the Late Holocene.

4. The pollen and microcharcoal records reconstructed anthropogenic disturbances attributed to agriculture. The record of GRSP shows that agrarian activities affected continental soil quality. Changes in magnetic susceptibility reveal that enhanced soil erosion was caused by both climate (major flooding events in the NW Mediterranean) and humans (cultivation) which impacted on the Posidonia mat. Finally, increased