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CONSERVATION PALEOBIOLOGY ON ACADIA’S MOUNTAINS – Caitlin McDonough MacKenzie
February 3, 2020 @ 12:00 pm
CONSERVATION PALEOBIOLOGY ON ACADIA’S MOUNTAINS
Caitlin McDonough MacKenzie
Second Century Stewardship Fellow
University of Maine
Monday, February 3, 2020, 12pm
138 Sawyer Conference Room
Abstract: Conservation practitioners depend on accurate assessments of climate change vulnerability in allocating limited resources to protect and steward natural resources. The subalpine plants on Acadia National Park’s open granite ridges have been interpreted as post-glacial tundra relicts, however paleoecological records above treeline are sparse and this assumption remains untested. Could subalpine plant communities in Acadia represent persistent microrefugia, perhaps indicating high resilience in the face of regional and global climate change? Globally, montane and alpine communities are highly vulnerable to climate change, however there is evidence that high elevations and coastal mountains in the northeastern United States are not warming as rapidly as the rest of the region. I combine historical ecological data from a 19th century flora and paleoecological data from lake sediment cores to reconstruct vegetation assemblages on Mount Desert Island’s eponymous bare mountain tops throughout the Holocene. This ongoing work includes species-level floristic change over the past century and decadal-to-centennial vegetation dynamics from new pollen and macrofossil records collected at Sargent Mountain Pond and supports conservation management in the park.