Using DNA markers to reconstruct past climate changes

Project: Other projectResearch collaboration

Project Details


Changes in climate drive fluctuations in aquatic systems which in turn influence the composition of the sediments that are slowly formed on ocean and lake floors. Thus sediment core records can be used to reconstruct climate changes and establish the effects of these on biological and chemical processes taking place in lake and marine environments. An understanding of how climate changes have impacted aquatic systems throughout geological time will allow us to more accurately predict what will happen with future climatic variability .

The sediment core record holds much as yet unexplored information. The distribution of phytoplankton, particularly diatoms, in sediments has long been used to reconstruct past changes in the aquatic environment but current techniques do not allow high resolution data to be obtained. The overarching aim, therefore, of this proposal is to establish the potential for using cutting edge DNA techniques to track changes in diatoms speciation in the sediment core record. This technique would represent a novel, cost effective alternative to traditional microfossil analysis, and thus a major step forward in the level of information we can obtain from the sediment core record and greatly enhance our understanding of the impacts of climate change.
Effective start/end date1/01/131/09/13