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Relationships between contemporary and subfossil macrophyte assemblages in Mediterranean ponds
Mediterranean ponds have been historically far less studied than temperate lakes of northern Europe and, for this reason, the availability of historical data is limited for these endangered ecosystems. In the absence of such data, macrofossils from surface sediment may provide highly relevant information concerning modern and past assemblages. Here, we explore the correspondence between contemporary macrophyte assemblages and their sedimentary remains from surface sediment in 35 ponds located in the North Iberian Plateau. Our results showed that plant macrofossils reflect both, the contemporary communities from which they are derived and the environmental forces controlling their assemblage composition (mainly total phosphorous and chlorophyll “a”). Overall, macrofossils may represent a useful tool for reconstructing historical evolution of macrophyte communities, as well as of their driving environmental variables in the poorly investigated Mediterranean ponds. However, the absence of some littoral and helophytic remains in the surface sediment samples may indicate that caution should be exercised to avoid potential biases when reconstructing past macrophyte communities. Hence, we suggest that addressing the effects of coring location and the complex patterns of production and distribution of subfossils in relation to their source vegetation may provide intriguing insights for future research in Mediterranean Paleolimnology.
MF18023 Accepted 24 February 2018
© CSIRO 2018