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Post Doctoral Associate, Climate Change Institute
Assessing the synchrony of lake responses across a geographic region is a key step in extrapolating studies from one lake to others across the region. This concept has received considerable attention among limnologists working over contemporary time scales to understand the effects of regional- or global-scale drivers of lake changes. While this may have major implications for interpretations of diatom-based paleoclimate reconstructions, these issues have not yet been fully assessed by paleolimnologists.
Sedimentary diatom assemblages from closed-basin lakes in arid and semi-arid regions are used to reconstruct salinity and infer past patterns of drought. However, the response of lake ecosystems to climate is complex, and the extent to which intrinsic factors, including a variety of ecological interactions, complicate these signals is generally unclear. Such complications may have resulted in disparities for different drought reconstructions in prairie saline lakes of the northern Great Plains (U.S.A.). Diatom-inferred salinity for Moon Lake during the late Holocene contradicts patterns inferred through multi-proxy reconstructions at nearby Coldwater Lake and Spring Lake. I am interested in studying how the differences in the ecology of these systems may have caused these inconsistencies. By combining both neo- and paleolimnological approaches, we can gain an understanding of how modern ecological processes influence the sediment record, and thereby improve the accuracy of environmental reconstructions for the Great Plains as well as other lake ecosystems around the world.
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