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Microscopic fungi as subfossil woodland indicators

Lageard, JGA and Ryan, PA (2013) Microscopic fungi as subfossil woodland indicators. The Holocene: a major interdisciplinary journal focusing on recent environmental change, 23 (7). pp. 990-1001. ISSN 0959-6836

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Abstract

An in situ subfossil oak trunk located on the Lancashire coastal plain in northwest England provided a unique opportunity for a detailed multiproxy investigation attempting to link precisely macrofossil evidence for a palaeowoodland to its microfossil depositional record. Dendrochronological analyses revealed that the tree died shortly after 4189 bc and that it was part of a mire-rooting woodland between 4433 and 4165 bc. Rising water levels are implicated in prolonged growth restrictions evident in this woodland and inferred subsequent widespread tree mortality. The novelty of the research reported here is in the use of microscopic fungal indicators to identify precisely a stratigraphic horizon that can be correlated with this specific palaeoecological event, providing a routine method for future correlations of macro- and microfossil records.

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