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Late Quaternary climate history of coastal Antarctic environments: a multi-proxy approach

Dutch title: Laat-Kwartaire klimaatshistoriek van Antarctische kustmilieus: een multi-proxy benadering
Parent project: Research action SPSD-II: Second scientific support plan for a sustainable development policy, more
Reference no: EV/02/01
Acronym: LAQUAN
Period: December 2000 till February 2005
Status: Completed

Thesaurus terms: Climate; Coastal waters; Fossils; Quaternary
Geographical term: Antarctica [Marine Regions]
 Institutes | Publication 

Institutes (3)  Top | Publication 
  • Universiteit Gent; Faculteit Wetenschappen; Vakgroep Biologie; Laboratorium voor Protistologie en Aquatische Ecologie (PAE), more
  • Université de Liège; Faculté des Sciences; Centre d'Ingénierie des Protéines (CIP), more, partner
  • Belgian Science Policy (BELSPO), more, sponsor

General context
LAQUAN aims to maintain and develop Belgium's role as an integral part of two international research programmes. Both are core projects in the British Antarctic Survey (UK) 2002-2006 five year science programme "Signals in Antarctica of Past Global Changes (SAGES), which combines lake, ice and marine sediment cores in an integrated study of past environments.

The project contributes to the SPSD II objectives "Atmosphere and Climate", by developing new methodologies wich will allow a better understanding of past climate change in Antarctica. It also will contribute to the development of datasets for the validation and calibration of climate and ice sheet models.

LAQUAN aims to contribute to the study of the Late Quaternary climate history of two contrasting Antarctic environments (Larsemann Hills and Alexander Island), by a multi-proxy, multi-site research of sediment cores from coastal lakes.

The specific objectives of the project are:

1) The further development and testing of molecular tools (based on rDNA) for palaeoenvironmental reconstruction.
2) The development of calibration datasets of fossilizable protists and biomolecules representing current environmental variability in contrasting maritime and continental Antarctic coastal regions.
3) The construction and validation of inference models and indices to infer environmental conditions based on fossil assemblages of a range of micro-organisms and biomolecules
4) The application of these multiple proxies in the analysis of sediment cores from coastal lakes in continental and maritime Antarctica
5) The participation in the integrated analysis of multiple biological, physical and chemical proxies and in the formulation of regional reconstructions of climate change in Antarctica during the past 30.000 years.

Link with international programmes
LAQUAN is an integral part of two international research programmes, "Palaeolimnological investigations of coastal continental lakes in het Larsemann Hills" and "Millenial-scale History of the George VI Sound Ice Shelf and Palaeoenvironmental History of Alexander Island, Antarctic Peninsula".

Expected Results
1) The project and its integration in international research programmes will be presented in a website that will be updated regularly to include a summary of major findings and the final results and will provide access to the database containing calibration datasets and image databases.
2) We anticipate that the project will spawn primary research papers, wich will appear in frontline journals and that these will be used in major review and synthesis papers. In addition, the project will present data to the scientific, political and public communities at the occasion of international and national meetings.
3) The image database will contain new digital images of lacustrine and marine microfossils, taxonomic description and autoecological and distributional data. This database will provide an important tool to both palaeoecological and taxonomic research in polar environments.
4) The new rDNA sequences will be deposited in international databases.
5) The project will contribute to work tasks set by the Past Global Changes (PAGES) component of the International Geosphere Biosphere Programme (IGBP) and by projects of the Scientific Commitee for Antarctic Research (SCAR) Global Change and Antarctica Programme (GLOCHANT). Specifically, it will contribute to PAGES Stream 1 (last 2000 years) and stream 2 (late Quaternary), and to the GLOCHANT projects (also adopted by PAGES): International Trans-Antarctic Scientific Expedition (ITASE), Antarctic Ice Margin Evolution (ANTIME) Stream 1 (last 20000 years), and Palaeoenvironments from Ice Cores (PICE).
6) Data from our major activities will be deposited with the PAGES International Palo-Data System at the World Data Centre-A for Palaeoclimatology (WDC-A) in Boulder, Colorado.
7) This project will contribute to the further development of the Belgian expertise in Antarctic research and to the realisation of the responsibilities and role of Belgium in the Antarctic Convention
8) The development of new biological proxies to reconstruct climate-induced environmental changes in Antarctica will provide an important tool for future international research and is a distinguishing feature of Belgium's role in this project.

Publication  Top | Institutes 
  • Vyverman, W.; Wilmotte, A.; Verleyen, E.; Schmoker, C.; Sabbe, K.; Cousin, S.; De Groot, L.; Waleron, K.; Balthasart, P.; Taton, A.; Lemaire, C. (2007). Late Quaternary climate history of coastal Antarctic environments: a multi-proxy approach (LAQUAN): final report. Belgian Science Policy: Brussel. 93 pp., more

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