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    Author(s): B. Buma; P.E. Hennon; A.L. Bidlack; J.F. Baichtal; T.A. Ager; G. Streveier
    Date: 2014
    Source: Quaternary Science Reviews
    Publication Series: Scientific Journal (JRNL)
    Station: Pacific Northwest Research Station
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    Description

    The velocity of species dispersal post-last glacial maximum (LGM) is an interesting question from both paleo-historical and contemporary perspectives. The apparent time lag between a location’s climate becoming suitable for a given species and that species’ arrival at that location has important implications for our understanding of the relationship between climate variables such as temperature and moisture and the dispersal ability of plants. Our knowledge of species dispersal rates underlies assumptions required for the interpretation of pollen and sediment records, biogeochemical reconstructions, and other endemic species distributions. From a contemporary perspective, our expectation of future species distributional shifts in response to a warming climate can be informed by historic range expansion since the LGM. Thus it is important to correctly estimate those dates and rates. Elias (2013) attempts to calculate tree species dispersal rates along the northwestern North American coast post-LGM. This area e the largest contiguous temperate rainforest ecosystem on the planet e was extensively glaciated during the LGM and is currently experiencing important transformations due to climate change. Elias concludes that tree species migration in this region, originating from the south, was rapid: 2e4 times the rate of similar species in eastern North America. Unfortunately, the Elias (2013) review and analysis does not consider localized refugia for those species, or their ecology, within southeast Alaska during the LGM; these considerations would likely change the conclusions. Evidence for local refugia comes from a variety of fields, and while the geographic extent and biological communities of these cryptic refugia are still under study, it is important to consider them when reconstructing historical migration rates.

    Publication Notes

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    • This article was written and prepared by U.S. Government employees on official time, and is therefore in the public domain.

    Citation

    Buma, B.; Hennon, P.E.; Bidlack, A.L.; Baichtal, J.F.; Ager, T.A.; Streveier, G. 2014. Correspondence regarding "The problem of conifer species migration lag in the Pacific Northwest region since the last glaciation" by Eias, S.A., (2013), Quaternary Science Reviews 77, 55-69. Quaternary Science Reviews. 93: 167-169.

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