Loughborough palaeolimnologists are lead authors on two major publications in prestigious journals that are hot off the press. Prof. John Anderson led a study including Dr David Ryves and Dr Keely Mills on the role of lakes in global carbon storage published on April 15th in Science Advances (“Anthropogenic alteration of nutrient supply increases the global freshwater carbon sink”, available here: https://advances.sciencemag.org/content/6/16/eaaw2145). The paper brings together an international consortium of leading limnologists in a study looking at carbon burial patterns over the last 100 years in a global meta-dataset of over 500 lakes from the equator to tundra regions. The study shows substantial increases in the C burial rates in all biomes, especially grasslands and the tropics (four-fold over the last century). This increase represents a substantial sink for carbon, helping offset other sources, and is largely driven by nutrient loading to these systems (rather than climate change).
And out on Friday April 24th in Nature Communications is a study led by Dr Jon Lewis and Dr David Ryves, also involving Prof. John Anderson(“Marine resource abundance drove pre-agricultural population increase in Stone Age Scandinavia”, available here: https://www.nature.com/articles/s41467-020-15621-1). This paper presents results from a major multi-disciplinary investigation involving a collaboration of UK and Danish researchers, led by Loughborough University, demonstrating multiple societal responses in late Stone Age Scandinavia to coastal environmental change linked to the Holocene Thermal Maximum (~8,000-4,000 years ago). In particular, a ~4-fold population increase was fuelled by warmer and more productive coastal waters during this time, and before the introduction of agriculture to the region ~5,900 years ago. This study makes new and important contributions to debates on several current grand challenges in archaeology, contesting the axiom that agriculture is necessary for the rise of complex societies, and provides data-driven insights into long-term human-environment interactions. The research also contributes to our understanding of key issues in global environmental change and the population-resource nexus, by demonstrating important linkages between sea level, climate, marine production and resource availability in the past that are of relevance for managing coastal resources for contemporary societies, as many coastal regions globally become warmer and more productive under increasing anthropogenic impact. The research was primarily funded by the Leverhulme Trust under a Research Project Grant to Dr Ryves (Stories of Subsistence: People and Coast over the last 6,000 years in the Limfjord, Denmark).