A Millennial Length High-Resolution Pollen, Charcoal, Diatom and Stable Isotope Record from Laguna San Carlos, Panama

Tuesday, 16 December 2014
Jaime Escobar, Universidad del Norte, Barranquilla, Colombia, Maria Velez, University of Regina, Regina, SK, Canada, Alexander Correa-Metrio, Universidad Nacional Autonoma de Mexico, Departamento de Paleontología, Mexico City, Mexico, Jeannine-Marie St. Jacques, Prairie Adaptation Research Collaborative (PARC), Regina, SK, Canada and Jason H Curtis, University of Florida, Gainesville, United States
We report here on preliminary results from Laguna San Carlos, (8o 37’ 32.44’’N, 80o 03’ 04.24’’ W) a small, shallow (8.3 m) volcanic lake from west-central Panama, a relatively unstudied Pacific coast region that is an important location for paleo-ENSO studies. The circular lake is a closed basin lake with a gradually sloping shoreline located within a caldera. The 300 cm core was taken in 2 m of water during March 2010. The core bottom was resting upon basement granitic rock with feldspar phenocrystals. The chronology is based upon five radiocarbon dates from terrestrial plant and wood remains. Pollen and charcoal were sampled at 10 cm resolution, diatoms at 5 cm and stable isotopes at 1 cm. The pollen profile shows four distinct terrestrial vegetation units. During the Medieval Climate Anomaly (MCA), from AD 880-1485, the vegetation was sparse with high amounts of grass, Asteraceae and charcoal suggestive of grasslands with high rates of natural disturbance, including fire. With the onset of the Little Ice Age (LIA), during AD 1485-1570, the vegetation transitioned into an open dry forest characterized by Myrica and Anacardium with high seasonality in precipitation. At AD 1570, the climate became wetter as shown by the pollen typical of a moist tropical forest. This lasted until AD 1720 when a period of greater human disturbance began (as shown by increased sedimentation rates), with primary forest taxa cohabiting with grasses and secondary taxa. The first maize pollen appeared at ~AD 1700. The diatom record is dominated by a single eutrophic species, Fragilaria crotonensis; however from AD 880-1150 minor taxa such as Aulacoseira spp., indicative of increased turbulence appeared, supporting the pollen record of open canopy vegetation at this time. The sedimentary carbon/nitrogen ratio (C/N) shows that the majority of the organic remains in the lake have always come from the surrounding basin. MTM spectral analysis of percent Fragilaria crotonensis, percent carbon, percent nitrogen, C/N, 13C and 15N shows common re-occurring peaks at 85 years, 50 years, 37 years and 30 years.