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Data from: Ornithogenic vegetation: How significant has the seabird influence been on the Aleutian Island vegetation during the Holocene?

Citation

Smyshlyaeva, Olesya et al. (2022), Data from: Ornithogenic vegetation: How significant has the seabird influence been on the Aleutian Island vegetation during the Holocene? , Dryad, Dataset, https://doi.org/10.5061/dryad.0rxwdbs1f

Abstract

In the Aleutian Islands during the Holocene, terrestrial predators were actually absent; as a result, large seabird colonies thrived along the coasts or across entire islands. Bird guano enriches the soil with nitrogen, which can lead to the formation of highly modified ornithogenic (bird-formed) ecosystems. For a more detailed investigation of avian influence, we reconstructed more than 10,000-year-old vegetation dynamics of the coast of Shemya Island (Near Islands) by pollen analysis. At the initial stages of vegetation development (10,000-4,600 cal yr BP), sedge-heather tundra grew in the studied area. A seabird colony existed on Shemya from 4,600 to 2,400 cal yr BP according to stable isotope analysis. During a period of at least 2,200-years nitrogen enrichment led to the development of ornithogenic herb meadows with a high presence of Apiaceae. A long-term increase in δ15N above 9-10‰ led to radical shifts in vegetation. Noticeable reduction of seabird colonies due to human hunting led to grass-meadows spreading. After a prolonged decrease δ15N below 9-10‰ (2,400 cal yr BP to present), there was a shift towards less productive sedge-tundra communities. However, the significant enrichment of guano affected only the coastal vegetation and did not alter the inland Shemya Island.

Usage Notes

This zip directory contains raw pollen cound data, pollen concentration data, description of samples, , and isotopic (13C, 15N) + LOI data: mcdonald_data.zip

In file 'McDonald Point (Shemya Aleutian Islands) isotopes LOI Pollen Influx.xlsx' missing values are marked with N / A.

This zip directory contains complete pollen percentage and concentration diagrams in tiff format as figure: mcdonald_figures.zip

Funding

Russian Foundation for Basic Research, Award: 19-34-90071

National Geographic Society, Award: 4943-92

National Geographic Society, Award: 5252-94

National Science Foundation, Award: OPP-93 14472

National Science Foundation, Award: OPP-96 14472