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Carbon isotope evidence for an abrupt reduction in grasses coincident with European settlement of Lake Eyre, South Australia

Johnson, Beverly J; Miller, Gifford Hubbs; Magee, John; Gagan, Michael; Fogel, Marilyn L; Quay, Paul

Description

Stable carbon isotopes in emu eggshell (EES) reflect emu diets and consequently the vegetation available for food sources. At Lake Eyre, South Australia, isotopic data suggest that there has been a rapid and dramatic change in vegetation at some point over the last 200 years when compared with the rest of the Holocene. The proportion of C4 plants in emu diets has been reduced by approximately 20% in response to an overall shift in C 4/C3 biomass at Lake Eyre. Isotopic measurement of the...[Show more]

dc.contributor.authorJohnson, Beverly J
dc.contributor.authorMiller, Gifford Hubbs
dc.contributor.authorMagee, John
dc.contributor.authorGagan, Michael
dc.contributor.authorFogel, Marilyn L
dc.contributor.authorQuay, Paul
dc.date.accessioned2015-12-13T22:52:24Z
dc.date.available2015-12-13T22:52:24Z
dc.identifier.issn0959-6836
dc.identifier.urihttp://hdl.handle.net/1885/81551
dc.description.abstractStable carbon isotopes in emu eggshell (EES) reflect emu diets and consequently the vegetation available for food sources. At Lake Eyre, South Australia, isotopic data suggest that there has been a rapid and dramatic change in vegetation at some point over the last 200 years when compared with the rest of the Holocene. The proportion of C4 plants in emu diets has been reduced by approximately 20% in response to an overall shift in C 4/C3 biomass at Lake Eyre. Isotopic measurement of the dominant plants at Lake Eyre indicate that the C4 plants are almost entirely comprised of grasses and some chenopods and the C3 plants are comprised of the dominant chenopods, shrubs, trees and forbs. We surmise that the ~ 20% reduction in C4 plant biomass reflects landscape degradation and loss of C4 grasses resulting from a combination of effects, including overgrazing by both introduced (e.g., sheep, cattle and rabbits) and native (e.g., kangaroos) animals, increasing drought and a change in fire regime beginning in the late 1890s. The magnitude of vegetation change that occurred in the last 200 years is as great as that which occurred during the last glacial maximum (∼ 21 000 years ago), and provides the first evidence for major environmental change at Lake Eyre soon after Europeans settled the arid zone.
dc.publisherSage Publications Inc
dc.sourceHolocene
dc.subjectKeywords: anthropogenic effect; carbon isotope; environmental change; Holocene; vegetation history; Australasia; Australia; Eastern Hemisphere; South Australia; World; Animalia; Bos taurus; Macropodidae; Oryctolagus cuniculus; Ovis aries; Poaceae Australia; Carbon isotopes; Eggshell; Emu; Environmental change; European settlement; Grasses; Historical change; Plants
dc.titleCarbon isotope evidence for an abrupt reduction in grasses coincident with European settlement of Lake Eyre, South Australia
dc.typeJournal article
local.description.notesImported from ARIES
local.description.refereedYes
local.identifier.citationvolume15
dc.date.issued2005
local.identifier.absfor040203 - Isotope Geochemistry
local.identifier.absfor049999 - Earth Sciences not elsewhere classified
local.identifier.ariespublicationMigratedxPub9828
local.type.statusPublished Version
local.contributor.affiliationJohnson, Beverly J, University of Washington
local.contributor.affiliationMiller, Gifford Hubbs, University of Colorado
local.contributor.affiliationMagee, John, College of Physical and Mathematical Sciences, ANU
local.contributor.affiliationGagan, Michael, College of Physical and Mathematical Sciences, ANU
local.contributor.affiliationFogel, Marilyn L, Carnegie Institution of Washington
local.contributor.affiliationQuay, Paul, University of Washington
local.bibliographicCitation.issue6
local.bibliographicCitation.startpage888
local.bibliographicCitation.lastpage896
local.identifier.doi10.1191/0959683605hl861ra
dc.date.updated2015-12-11T10:50:54Z
local.identifier.scopusID2-s2.0-25444476965
CollectionsANU Research Publications

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