Deglacial temperature controls on no-analog community establishment in the Great Lakes Region

TitleDeglacial temperature controls on no-analog community establishment in the Great Lakes Region
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2020
AuthorsFastovich, D, Russell, JM, Jackson, ST, Williams, JW
JournalQuaternary Science Reviews
Date PublishedJan-04-2020
Keywordsbiomarkers, brGDGT, Climate sensitivity, Lagoons & swamps, lakes, No-analog, North America, paleoclimatology, Pleistocene, pollen, sedimentology, Temperature, vegetation

Understanding the drivers of vegetation dynamics and no-analog communities in eastern North America is hampered by a scarcity of independent temperature indicators. We present a new branched glycerol dialkyl glycerol tetraether (brGDGT) temperature record from Bonnet Lake, Ohio (18–8 ka) and report uncertainty estimates based on Bayesian linear regression and bootstrapping. We also reanalyze a previously published brGDGT record from Silver Lake, Ohio, using improved chromatographic methods. All pollen- and brGDGT-based temperature reconstructions showed qualitatively similar deglacial trends but varying magnitudes. Separating 5- and 6- methyl brGDGTs resulted in substantially lower estimates of deglacial temperature variations (6.4 °C) than inferred from earlier brGDGT methods and pollen (11.8 °C, 12.0 °C respectively). Similar trends among proxies suggest good fidelity of brGDGTs to temperature, despite calibration uncertainties. At both sites, the rise and decline of no-analog communities closely track brGDGT-inferred temperatures, with a lag of 0–150 years. The timing of temperature and ecological events varies between Bonnet and Silver Lakes, likely due to age model uncertainties. Climate sensitivity analyses indicate a linear sensitivity of vegetation composition to temperature variations, albeit noisy and significant only with a 500-year bin. The formation of no-analog plant communities in the upper Midwest is closely linked to late-glacial warming, but other factors, such as temperature seasonality or end-Pleistocene megafaunal extinctions, remain viable.