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Type: Theses
Title: Climate-driven ecological changes through the last glacial period: innovations in plant ancient DNA and stable isotope palaeoecology
Author: Rabanus-Wallace, Mark Timothy
Issue Date: 2017
School/Discipline: School of Biological Sciences
Abstract: The impact of climate-driven ecological changes can be understood by reconstructing the effects of past climate variation on the flora and fauna. This thesis develops and applies new methods for inferring the history of the graminoid-dominated steppes of the northern Holarctic and Patagonia as they declined during the end of the Last Glacial Period (25,000–10,000 years ago). Stable nitrogen isotope data are used to argue for the pivotal role that landscape moisture played in the decline of the Pleistocene megafauna, and a new method for inferring relative changes in plant-available moisture from herbivore collagen isotopic measurements is developed. Experimental methods for working with botanical ancient DNA are presented, tested, and used to explore the taxonomy and evolutionary histories of three ancient plant species, ultimately yielding the two oldest known draft chloroplast genome sequences, dating to between 50,000 and 80,000 years ago. The results confirm the strongly-reticulated phylogenies characteristic of plants evolved to employ great plasticity as an adaptive ability, even with minimal sexual reproduction. All new genetic methods are tested with the aid of a newly designed program SimWreck, which simulates sequence data with the known characteristics of ancient DNA.
Advisor: Cooper, Alan
Breen, James
Cross, Hugh
Llamas, Bastien
Dissertation Note: Thesis (Ph.D.) (Research by Publication) -- University of Adelaide, School of Biological Sciences, 2017.
Keywords: plants
ancient DNA
climate change
stable isotopes
mammoth steppe
Research by Publication
Provenance: Copyright material removed from digital thesis. See print copy in University of Adelaide Library for full text.
This electronic version is made publicly available by the University of Adelaide in accordance with its open access policy for student theses. Copyright in this thesis remains with the author. This thesis may incorporate third party material which has been used by the author pursuant to Fair Dealing exceptions. If you are the owner of any included third party copyright material you wish to be removed from this electronic version, please complete the take down form located at:
DOI: 10.25909/5ba2dd81307d2
Appears in Collections:Research Theses

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