Wetlands dating

The discovery could fill one of the biggest missing pieces in the global climate record, revealing how eastern Australia changed over that period.Previously this had to be extrapolated from elsewhere and a handful of sites, many of them discontinuous, from the extremities of the continent.The work -- led by the University of Adelaide, and involving scientists from the Queensland Government, and members of the local community -- has uncovered what the researchers describe as a "treasure trove" of ancient wetlands on Queensland's North Stradbroke Island (known to Indigenous communities as , the research details the development of wetlands on the island, at a time when water across Australia was scarce."There are more wetlands on North Stradbroke Island dating to the last ice age than anywhere else in Australia," says project leader Dr John Tibby, Acting Head of the Department of Geography, Environment and Population at the University of Adelaide.

"We cored and dated 16 wetlands on the island and found six dating to the Ice Age or earlier, with one being more than 200,000 years old," said co-author Dr Jonathan Marshall of the Queensland Department of Science, Information Technology, and Innovation.

These cores produced resolution well above those at Australia's other sites.

Collecting paleoclimate cores from wetlands is not as dangerous as getting ice cores in Antarctica, but it might be as uncomfortable, as John Tibby (left) and Cameron Barr discovered in Duck Lagoon, North Stradbroke Island.

"The island, and possibly even the region itself, may have been a refuge from dry climates," Dr Tibby says.

Dr Jonathan Marshall, Principal Scientist with the Queensland Department of Science, Information Technology and Innovation, says their work has demonstrated that North Stradbroke Island "is an Australian exception." "We cored and dated 16 wetlands on the island and found six dating to the ice age or earlier, with one being more than 200,000 years old," Dr Marshall says.

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