Mary E Edwards

Mary E Edwards
University of Southampton · School of Geography and Environmental Science

PhD

About

216
Publications
69,653
Reads
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13,934
Citations
Citations since 2017
63 Research Items
5819 Citations
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201720182019202020212022202302004006008001,000
201720182019202020212022202302004006008001,000

Publications

Publications (216)
Article
Cabo Verde remained uninhabited until 1460 CE, when European sailors founded a settlement in Santiago, and soon after in Fogo island. The degree to which different island ecosystems in Cabo Verde have been transformed by humans remains uncertain because of a scarcity of historical information and archaeological evidence. Disentangling these process...
Article
Full-text available
Population size has increasingly been taken as the driver of past human environmental impact worldwide, and particularly in the Arctic. However, sedimentary ancient DNA (sedaDNA), pollen and archaeological data show that over the last 12,000 years, paleoeconomy and culture determined human impacts on the terrestrial ecology of Arctic Norway. The la...
Article
Full-text available
Sedimentary charcoal records are widely used to reconstruct regional changes in fire regimes through time in the geological past. Existing global compilations are not geographically comprehensive and do not provide consistent metadata for all sites. Furthermore, the age models provided for these records are not harmonised and many are based on olde...
Article
Full-text available
Historical salmon catch records suggest that climatic variability, and more recently human exploitation, control patterns of abundance in Atlantic salmon populations. We present the first long-term (2000-year) reconstruction of Atlantic Salmon population variations based on a Marine Derived Nutrient (MDN) lake sediment record. Our record is constru...
Article
Full-text available
Significance Megafauna strongly influence vegetation structure, and population declines can alter ecosystem functioning. Overhunting of grazing megafauna is argued to have driven the collapse of widespread, northern steppe-tundra and its replacement by woody vegetation at the end of the ice age. However, in Alaska and Yukon, mammoth and horse becam...
Article
Full-text available
During the last glacial–interglacial cycle, Arctic biotas experienced substantial climatic changes, yet the nature, extent and rate of their responses are not fully understood1–8. Here we report a large-scale environmental DNA metagenomic study of ancient plant and mammal communities, analysing 535 permafrost and lake sediment samples from across t...
Article
Significance Assessing the ecological consequences of human settlement can help preserve island forests and their ecosystem services, but to understand the legacy of these interactions requires datasets that span centuries. We used paleoecological data (e.g. fossil pollen) to show that prehuman Holocene forests were dynamic in response to climatic...
Article
As concern about the effects of climate change on northern regions increases, an important goal of palaeoenvironmental science is placing events that appear to be unprecedented—such as the severe boreal forest fires of recent years (Witze et al. 2020)—into a long-term context. The boreal forest zone covers a large span of latitude from the permafro...
Article
Full-text available
A submillennial-resolution record of lake water oxygen isotope composition (δ¹⁸O) from chironomid head capsules is presented from Burial Lake, north-west Alaska. The record spans the Last Glacial Maximum (LGM; ~20–16k cal a bp) to the present and shows a series of large lake δ¹⁸O shifts (~5‰). Relatively low δ¹⁸O values occurred during a period cov...
Preprint
Full-text available
Sedimentary charcoal records are widely used to reconstruct regional changes in fire regimes through time in the geological past. Existing global compilations are not geographically comprehensive and do not provide consistent metadata for all sites. Furthermore, the age models provided for these records are not harmonised and many are based on olde...
Article
Full-text available
A detailed, well‐dated record of pollen and sedimentary ancient DNA (sedaDNA) for the period 15 000–9500 cal a bp describes changes at Lake Bolshoye Shchuchye in the Polar Ural Mountains, located far east of the classical Lateglacial sites in western Europe. Arctic tundra rapidly changed to lusher vegetation, possibly including both dwarf (Betula n...
Article
Full-text available
The effects of climate change on species richness are debated but can be informed by the past. Here, we generated a sedimentary ancient DNA dataset covering 10 lakes and applied novel methods for data harmonization. We assessed the impact of Holocene climate changes and nutrients on terrestrial plant richness in northern Fennoscandia. We find that...
Conference Paper
About 14,000 years ago, on the cusp of major environmental changes that affected the distribution of animals, vegetation cover and hydrology, humans entered interior Alaska for the first time. A sedimentary ancient DNA (sedaDNA) record from a lake in the Tanana valley, which lies close to several of the oldest dated archaeological sites, documents...
Article
Full-text available
Aim Palaeoecological data provide an essential long‐term perspective of ecological change and its drivers in oceanic islands. However, analysing the effects of multi‐scalar and potentially co‐occurring disturbances is particularly challenging in dry islands. Here, we aim to identify the ecological consequences of the integrated impacts of a regiona...
Conference Paper
Networks of distal tephrostratigraphic records can be used to investigate the frequency and extent of past ash fall events. These studies provide a long view of regional volcanic hazards that exceeds the comparatively short historical archive. To date, the use of tephrostratigraphy in this way has been restricted to Europe; however, the rapid globa...
Preprint
Full-text available
The effects of climate change on species richness is debated but can be informed by the past. Here, we assess the impact of Holocene climate changes and nutrients on terrestrial plant richness across multiple sites from northern Fennoscandia using new sedimentary ancient DNA (sedaDNA) data quality control methods. We find that richness increased st...
Article
Full-text available
A 24,000-year record of plant community dynamics, based on pollen and ancient DNA from the sediments (sedaDNA) of Lake Bolshoye Shchuchye in the Polar Ural Mountains, provides detailed information on the flora of the Last Glacial Maximum (LGM) and also changes in plant community composition and dominance. It greatly improves on incomplete records f...
Article
In the two decades or so since ancient sedimentary DNA ( sed aDNA) took its place as a new Quaternary paleo-proxy, there have been large advances in the scope of its applications and its reliability. The two main approaches, metabarcoding and shotgun sequencing, have contributed exciting insights into areas such as floristic diversity change, plant...
Article
Full-text available
The Arctic has warmed by around 2°C since 1850, approximately double the global average. Even if the Paris Agreement successfully limits global warming to a further 0.5°C, the Arctic is expected to warm by at least another 1°C. The United Kingdom’s (UK) weather is linked to conditions in the European Arctic. For example, high atmospheric pressure...
Article
Full-text available
Andøya on the NW coast of Norway is a key site for understanding the Last Glacial Maximum (LGM) in northern Europe. Controversy has arisen concerning the local conditions, especially about the timing and extent of local glacial cover, maximum July temperatures and whether pine and/or spruce could have grown there. We reviewed all existing data and...
Article
One major challenge in the study of late-Quaternary extinctions (LQEs) is providing better estimates of past megafauna abundance. To show how megaherbivore population size varied before and after the last extinctions in interior Alaska, we use both a database of radiocarbon-dated bone remains (spanning 25–0 ka) and spores of the obligate dung fungu...
Article
Full-text available
Preserving biodiversity requires knowledge of the processes that underlie geographical patterns of species' distribution and sustain diverse communities over long periods of time. Studies of modern and ancient DNA may provide new insight into these processes. The fate of the NW European biota during the last glacial period has been debated for alm...
Article
Full-text available
Plants adapted to extreme conditions can be at high risk from climate change; arctic-alpine plants, in particular, could "run out of space" as they are out-competed by expansion of woody vegetation. Mountain regions could potentially provide safe sites for arctic-alpine plants in a warmer climate, but empirical evidence is fragmentary. Here we pres...
Article
Full-text available
The current state of permafrost in Alaska and meaningful expectations for its future evolution are informed by long-term perspectives on previous permafrost degradation. Thermokarst processes in permafrost landscapes often lead to widespread lake formation and the spatial and temporal evolution of thermokarst lake landscapes reflects the combined e...
Article
Full-text available
While there are extensive macro- and microfossil records of a range of plants and animals from the Quaternary, earthworms and their close relatives amongst annelids are not preserved as fossils and therefore the knowledge of their past distributions is limited. This lack of fossils means that clitellate worms (Annelida) are currently underused in p...
Article
Full-text available
We present a Holocene record of floristic diversity and environmental change for the central Varanger Peninsula, Finnmark, based on ancient DNA extracted from the sediments of a small lake (sedaDNA). The record covers the period c. 10 700 to 3300 cal. a BP and is complemented by pollen data. Measures of species richness, sample evenness, and beta-d...
Article
Full-text available
Environmental DNA retrieved from modern soils (eDNA) and late-Quaternary palaeosols and sediments (aDNA and sedaDNA) promises insight into the composition of present and past terrestrial biotic communities, but few studies address the spatial relationship between recovered eDNA and contributing organisms. Svalbard’s vascular plant flora is well kno...
Article
Full-text available
Impacts of global climate change on terrestrial ecosystems are imperfectly constrained by ecosystem models and direct observations. Pervasive ecosystem transformations occurred in response to warming and associated climatic changes during the last glacial-to-interglacial transition, which was comparable in magnitude to warming projected for the nex...
Article
Full-text available
“Arctic greening” will alter vegetation quantity and quality in northern watersheds, with possible consequences for lake metabolic balance. We used paleolimnology from six Arctic lakes in Greenland, Norway, and Alaska to develop a conceptual model describing how climate‐driven shifts in terrestrial vegetation (spanning herb to boreal forest) influe...
Article
Full-text available
Metabarcoding of lake sediments have been shown to reveal current and past biodiversity, but little is known about the degree to which taxa growing in the vegetation are represented in environmental DNA (eDNA) records. We analysed composition of lake and catchment vegetation and vascular plant eDNA at 11 lakes in northern Norway. Out of 489 records...
Data
Taxa removed during filtering. All DNA reads that have 100% match to the reference libraries and have been removed during the second last step of filtering (see S2 Table). (XLSX)
Data
Comments on true and false positives. (DOCX)
Data
All taxa recorded in the vegetation surveys. (<2 m and/or larger surveys) at 11 lakes in northern Norway. Number refers to the highest abundance recorded among 2–17 vegetation polygons in the larger vegetation surveys (1 = rare, 2 = scattered, 3 = frequent, and 4 = dominant). Thus, 2316 records were combined to give one vegetation record per specie...
Data
Number of sequence reads remaining after each filtering step for 42 samples from modern lake sediment collected in northern Norway, 6 extraction negative controls, 6 PCR negative controls and 2 PCR positive controls. Six individually tagged PCR repeats were run for each sample, giving a total of 336 PCR samples. Numbers of sequences and unique sequ...
Data
Effect of different filtering criteria on the number of true positives. True positive (TP, defined as species also detected in vegetation surveys thus lower than the numbers given in Table 2) and False Positives (FP, defined as species not found in the regional flora; including 15 potential food plants) per lake and in total. The criteria used in t...
Data
Retrieval of positive controls from raw orbitool output file. The file consisted of 12706536 reads of 581 sequences, 98% match). Note that not all taxa used in the positive controls were present in the reference library but they match to closely related taxa. (DOCX)
Data
The probability of detection in eDNA and vegetation. The probability that all taxa in the vegetation were recorded (Vegetation), and that the DNA records represents true and false positives. Mean probability, standard deviation (SD) are given for each lake. (DOCX)
Article
Beringia (eastern Asia, Alaska, northwest Canada) has been a land-bridge dispersal route between Asia and North America intermittently since the Mesozoic Era. The Quaternary, the most recent period of exchange, is characterized by large, geologically rapid climate fluctuations and sea-level changes that alternately expose and inundate the land-brid...
Preprint
Metabarcoding of lake sediments may reveal current and past biodiversity, but little is known about the degree to which taxa growing in the vegetation are represented in environmental DNA (eDNA) records. We analysed composition of lake and catchment vegetation and vascular plant eDNA at 11 lakes in northern Norway. Out of 489 records of taxa growin...
Article
Full-text available
DNA-based snapshots of ancient vegetation have shown that the composition of high-latitude plant communities changed considerably during the late Quaternary. However, parallel changes in biotic interactions remain largely uninvestigated. Here we show how mutualisms involving plants and heterotrophic organisms varied during the last 50,000 years. Du...
Technical Report
Full-text available
Executive summary ================ • The Arctic environment is facing rapid changes as temperatures there are rising twice as fast as the global average. Trees and shrubs are spreading northward, the ice-free season is lengthening, and sea ice is rapidly diminishing in extent. These changes have strong effects on biodiversity and local communities,...
Article
Full-text available
“Arctic greening” will alter vegetation quantity and quality in northern watersheds, with possible consequences for lake metabolic balance. We used paleolimnology from six Arctic lakes in Greenland, Norway, and Alaska to develop a conceptual model describing how climate‐driven shifts in terrestrial vegetation (spanning herb to boreal forest) influe...
Presentation
Understanding the response and resilience of the Arctic flora to past environmental change is an essential component informing ecosystem models and anticipating how plant communities may respond to future climate change. Reconstructing Arctic vegetation histories has often proved challenging due to poor taxonomic resolution and often low concentrat...
Article
Full-text available
Holocene tephrostratigraphy in Alaska provides independent chronology and stratigraphic correlation in a region where reworked old (Holocene) organic carbon can significantly distort radiocarbon chronologies. Here we present new glass chemistry and chronology for Holocene tephras preserved in three Alaskan lakes: one in the eastern interior, and tw...
Article
Full-text available
A megaslump at Batagaika, in northern Yakutia, exposes a remarkable stratigraphic sequence of permafrost deposits ~50–80 m thick. To determine their potential for answering key questions about Quaternary environmental and climatic change in northeast Siberia, we carried out a reconnaissance study of their cryostratigraphy and paleoecology, supporte...
Article
Full-text available
Continental-scale estimates of vegetation cover, including land-surface properties and biogeographic trends, reflect the response of plant species to climate change over the past millennia. These estimates can help assess the effectiveness of simulations of climate change using forward and inverse modelling approaches. With the advent of transient...
Article
Full-text available
The timing of the seasonal freeze-thaw cycle of arctic lakes affects ecological processes and land-atmosphere energy fluxes. We carried out detailed ice-phenology mapping of arctic lakes, based on daily surface-reflectance time series for 2000–2013 from MODIS at 250 m spatial resolution. We used over 13,300 lakes, area >1 km2, in five study areas d...
Article
Multiple criteria evaluation (MCE) is often used with GIS to identify suitable sites for multi-purpose development such as ecotourism. Typically, expert or stakeholder consultation is used to identify weights reflecting the relative importance of map layers representing different criteria. The objective of this study was to evaluate a new consultat...
Article
Full-text available
We quantified the degree to which the relationship between the geographic distribution of three major European tree species, Abies alba, Fagus sylvatica and Picea abies and January temperature (Tjan) has remained stable over the past 10,000 years. We used an extended data-set of fossil pollen records over Europe to reconstruct spatial variation in...
Article
Full-text available
Sedimentary DNA (sedDNA) has recently emerged as a new proxy for reconstructing past vegetation, but its taphonomy, source area and representation biases need better assessment. We investigated how sedDNA in recent sediments of two small Scottish lakes reflects a major vegetation change, using well-documented 20th Century plantations of exotic coni...