146 research outputs found

    Lake Ohrid’s tephrochronological dataset reveals 1.36 Ma of Mediterranean explosive volcanic activity

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    Tephrochronology relies on the availability of the stratigraphical, geochemical and geochronological datasets of volcanic deposits, three preconditions which are both often only fragmentary accessible. This study presents the tephrochronological dataset from the Lake Ohrid (Balkans) sediment succession continuously reaching back to 1.36 Ma. 57 tephra layers were investigated for their morphological appearance, geochemical fingerprint, and (chrono-)stratigraphic position. Glass fragments of tephra layers were analyzed for their major element composition using Energy-Dispersive-Spectroscopy and Wavelength-Dispersive Spectroscopy and for their trace element composition by Laser Ablation-Inductively Coupled Plasma-Mass Spectrometry. Radiometric dated equivalents of 16 tephra layers and orbital tuning of geochemical proxy data provided the basis for the age-depth model of the Lake Ohrid sediment succession. The age-depth model, in turn, provides ages for unknown or undated tephra layers. This dataset forms the basis for a regional stratigraphic framework and provides insights into the central Mediterranean explosive volcanic activity during the last 1.36 Ma

    No evidence for tephra in Greenland from the historic eruption of Vesuvius in 79 CE: implications for geochronology and paleoclimatology

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    Volcanic fallout in polar ice sheets provide important opportunities to date and correlate ice-core records as well as to investigate the environmental impacts of eruptions. Only the geochemical characterization of volcanic ash (tephra) embedded in the ice strata can confirm the source of the eruption, however, and is a requisite if historical eruption ages are to be used as valid chronological checks on annual ice layer counting. Here we report the investigation of ash particles in a Greenland ice core that are associated with a volcanic sulfuric acid layer previously attributed to the 79 CE eruption of Vesuvius. Major and trace element composition of the particles indicates that the tephra does not derive from Vesuvius but most likely originates from an unidentified eruption in the Aleutian arc. Using ash dispersal modelling, we find that only an eruption large enough to include stratospheric injection is likely to account for the sizeable (24–85 μm) ash particles observed in the Greenland ice at this time. Despite its likely explosivity, this event does not appear to have triggered significant climate perturbations, unlike some other large extra-tropical eruptions. In light of a recent re-evaluation of the Greenland ice-core chronologies, our findings further challenge the previous assignation of this volcanic event to 79 CE. We highlight the need for the revised Common Era ice-core chronology to be formally accepted by the wider ice-core and climate modelling communities in order to ensure robust age linkages to precisely dated historical and paleoclimate proxy records

    Trace element and Pb isotope fingerprinting of atmospheric pollution sources: A case study from the east coast of Ireland

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    Unravelling inputs of multiple air pollution sources and reconstructing their historic contribution can be a difficult task. Here, new trace metal concentrations and Pb isotope data were combined for a radionuclide (210Pb-241Am) dated peat core from the Liffey Head bog (LHB) in eastern Ireland in order to reconstruct how different sources contributed to the atmospheric pollution over the past century. Highest enrichments in the heavy metals Pb, Cu, Ag, Sn, and Sb, together with a Pb isotope composition (206Pb/204Pb: 18.351 ± 0.013; 206Pb/207Pb: 1.174 ± 0.012) close to that of the Wicklow mineralisation demonstrates significant aerial influx of heavy metals from local mining and smelting activities during the 19th century until ca. 1940s. A dramatic compositional shift defined by elevated Co, Cr, Ni, Mo, Zn, and V enrichments and a sharp transition towards unradiogenic 206Pb values (206Pb/204Pb: 18.271 ± 0.013–17.678 ± 0.006; 206Pb/207Pb: 1.170 ± 0.012–1.135 ± 0.007) is documented from the 1940s until ca. 2000. These are attributed to the atmospheric impact of fossil fuels and especially leaded petrol, modelled to have contributed between 6 and 78% to the total Pb pollution at this site. The subsequent turn to a more radiogenic Pb isotope signature since 2000 in Ireland is clearly documented in the investigated archive (206Pb/204Pb: 17.930 ± 0.006; 206Pb/207Pb: 1.148 ± 0.007) and reflects the abolishment of leaded petrol. However, there remains a persisting and even increasing pollution in Ni, Mo, Cu, and especially Zn, collectively originating from countrywide use of fossil fuels(peat, coal, heating oil, and unleaded vehicle fuels) for domestic and industrial purposes. This illustrates the continued anthropogenic influence on important natural archives such as bogs in Ireland despite the phase-out of leaded petrol

    A research agenda for seed-trait functional ecology

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    Trait-based approaches have improved our understanding of plant evolution, community assembly and ecosystem functioning. A major challenge for the upcoming decades is to understand the functions and evolution of early life-history traits, across levels of organization and ecological strategies. Although a variety of seed traits are critical for dispersal, persistence, germination timing and seedling establishment, only seed mass has been considered systematically. Here we suggest broadening the range of morphological, physiological and biochemical seed traits to add new understanding on plant niches, population dynamics and community assembly. The diversity of seed traits and functions provides an important challenge that will require international collaboration in three areas of research. First, we present a conceptual framework for a seed ecological spectrum that builds upon current understanding of plant niches. We then lay the foundation for a seed-trait functional network, the establishment of which will underpin and facilitate trait-based inferences. Finally, we anticipate novel insights and challenges associated with incorporating diverse seed traits into predictive evolutionary ecology, community ecology and applied ecology. If the community invests in standardized seed-trait collection and the implementation of rigorous databases, major strides can be made at this exciting frontier of functional ecology

    Fine-mapping of the HNF1B multicancer locus identifies candidate variants that mediate endometrial cancer risk.

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    Common variants in the hepatocyte nuclear factor 1 homeobox B (HNF1B) gene are associated with the risk of Type II diabetes and multiple cancers. Evidence to date indicates that cancer risk may be mediated via genetic or epigenetic effects on HNF1B gene expression. We previously found single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) at the HNF1B locus to be associated with endometrial cancer, and now report extensive fine-mapping and in silico and laboratory analyses of this locus. Analysis of 1184 genotyped and imputed SNPs in 6608 Caucasian cases and 37 925 controls, and 895 Asian cases and 1968 controls, revealed the best signal of association for SNP rs11263763 (P = 8.4 Ă— 10(-14), odds ratio = 0.86, 95% confidence interval = 0.82-0.89), located within HNF1B intron 1. Haplotype analysis and conditional analyses provide no evidence of further independent endometrial cancer risk variants at this locus. SNP rs11263763 genotype was associated with HNF1B mRNA expression but not with HNF1B methylation in endometrial tumor samples from The Cancer Genome Atlas. Genetic analyses prioritized rs11263763 and four other SNPs in high-to-moderate linkage disequilibrium as the most likely causal SNPs. Three of these SNPs map to the extended HNF1B promoter based on chromatin marks extending from the minimal promoter region. Reporter assays demonstrated that this extended region reduces activity in combination with the minimal HNF1B promoter, and that the minor alleles of rs11263763 or rs8064454 are associated with decreased HNF1B promoter activity. Our findings provide evidence for a single signal associated with endometrial cancer risk at the HNF1B locus, and that risk is likely mediated via altered HNF1B gene expression
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