Recreating the Paleoecology of the Rocky Mountains, AB
Since the 1990s, ice patch research in Northern Canada has yielded valuable scientific information. Paleoecological studies have consisted of pollen analysis, ancient DNA analysis, and macrofossil analysis. These studies contribute to the current body of knowledge on climate change and inform researchers on the potential changes to come as climates fluctuate. In this project, 6000- to 4000-year-old plant macrofossils from remnant ice patches were used to interpret treeline and subshrub fluctuations in the Rocky Mountains, Alberta. Plant macrofossils were collected, dated, sorted, identified, imaged and then plant assemblages were analyzed to infer treeline and subshrub responses to climate fluctuations. Results show an increase in shrub density from Sample #5 (5468-5886 14C yr BP) to Sample #6 (4895-5122 14C yr BP), and that treeline in CM-II-IP resembled modern treeline. Subshrubs found in the area also correspond with modern plant assemblages. These results suggest that environmental conditions and plant communities resemble those today. Further ice patch research using other paleoecological proxies will provide more insight into the climate and treeline dynamics in CM-II-IP.
Department: Physical Sciences
Faculty Mentor: Dr. Robin Woywitka
Authors retain any and all existing copyright to works contributed to these proceedings.