Mid-Holocene palaeolimnological record of a Southern Hemisphere subtropical lake spanning the last ~6000 years: Lake Jennings, Fraser Island, Australia
Hembrow, SC, Taffs, KH, Atahan, P, Zawadzki, A, Heijnis, H & Parr, J 2018, 'Mid-Holocene palaeolimnological record of a Southern Hemisphere subtropical lake spanning the last ~6000 years: Lake Jennings, Fraser Island, Australia', The Holocene, vol. 28, no. 4, pp. 558-569.
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The study of climate mechanisms in the Southern Hemisphere during the Holocene remains an area of active research that lacks the spatial and temporal connectivity characteristic of Northern Hemisphere research. The subtropical/temperate climate transition zone of eastern Australia provides a unique location to investigate long-term environmental changes during the Holocene. Lake Jennings on Fraser Island was used to investigate climate change in this transition zone using palaeolimnological techniques. The beginning of the Lake Jennings record (~6000 to 3500 cal. yBP), is characterised by fluctuations in geochemical signals, an abundance of sponge spicules, and a lack of diatom species. Results suggest gradually increasing precipitation and water depth, which affect nutrient cycling. However, the biological functioning of the lake is difficult to interpret due to the absence of diatoms, possibly a result of turbidity, dissolution and/or predation by freshwater sponges. During the late Holocene, ~3500 cal. yBP to present, precipitation and water depth of the lake decreases to present day levels. Within this section of the core nutrient cycling changes, as indicated by the geochemical results, and a series of more intense wet and dry events took place before stabilising at present day levels. Other palaeoecological studies within the Southern Hemisphere have noted changes in geochemical and biological attributes within similar latitudes, confirming the notion of climate forced environmental change in aquatic ecosystems. This continuous ~6000 year record from Lake Jennings shows distinct changes in aquatic communities, confirming a trend of drying in subtropical eastern Australia through the late Holocene.