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The University of Southampton
Geography and Environmental Science

How does ancient DNA from lake sediments reflect past terrestrial flora and fauna—and what can we use it for? Seminar

25 April 2018
Room 2013, Shackleton Lecture Theatre C Building 44

For more information regarding this seminar, please email Dr Nathaniel Lewis at .

Event details

Over time lakes are filled-in with components from the surrounding environment creating a layered sediment archive of information. From these layers DNA can be extracted, e.g. DNA from past organisms that lived in or nearby the lake. Extraction and analysis of bulk lake sediment samples is an emerging and new method for elucidating whole community information about past environments. But what kind of information can we retrieve, what are the challenges and future prospects of this method? In this talk I will present results from two pioneering studies, in which we have extracted and analysed ancient environmental DNA from past floras as well as whole communities using DNA metabarcoding and shotgun sequencing, respectively. We show that these methods are complimentary to traditional macro- and microfossil analysis, but also that it is possible to identify taxa not found in the fossil records. However, despite these promising results the methods are still in their infancies and challenges still remain. But there are also promising new features that can potentially gain unprecedented new information.

Speaker information

Dr Mikkel Winther Pedersen, University of Cambridge. Department of Zoology,

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