Work package 1

Work package 1

Work package 1: Quaternary Pontocaspian lake system evolution  

WP1 targets the evolution of the Quaternary Pontocaspian lake systems and the processes that controlled them. By coupling climate and lake basin model simulations we will investigate how climate in general and precipitation-evaporation (P-E) balances in the lake catchments in particular, drive lake levels, connectivity and nutrient dynamics. Multiple snap-shot model simulations will be integrated with geochemical and biological proxy records of lake basin dynamics providing a four-dimensions (4-d) palaeo-environmental dataset that is tested against proxy and palaeontological records. 

By modelling precipiation/evaporation balances in the pontocaspian catchments through the Quaternary we aim to understand lake behavious in time, such as isolation or episodic overflow. Left image courtesy Klaus Arpe.

WP1 aims to establish the role of global, regional and local climate and other abiotic processes that drive the evolution of the Quaternary Pontocaspian lake systems and their biota. Three time intervals will be targeted in increasing temporal detail: the Early-Middle Pleistocene (c 2 Ma -130 ka); the last glacial cycle (c 130 – 11.5 ka); and the Holocene (<11.5 ka).

The most important outcomes of WP1 are (1) an updated Pontocaspian stratigraphic framework; (2) a Pontocaspian Quaternary environmental dataset that integrates climate-lake model output that has been tested by biological and geochemical proxy records; and (3) snap-shot model simulations of key periods that serve as input for the PontoCaspian Information System (PC-IS) >. The PC-IS will enable scientists, students and others interested to explore interactively the link between abiotic processes and faunal evolution in the Pontocaspian region.

Work package 1 is lead by > Dr Rachel Flecker  from Bristol University.

The five projects in work package 1 are tightly interlinked. Project A1 (Utrecht University) will provide the stratigraphic time constraints, project A2 (Bremen University) will perform the climate modelling, and project A3 (University of Reading) the integrated lake basin modelling. Projects A4 (Bristol University) and A5 (Brunel University, London) deliver respectively geochemical and biological proxy data to constrain and test the models.