Abstract

The palynology of cores from Cartwright Saddle led to reconstruction of sea-surface conditions on the basis of transfer functions using dinoflagellate cyst assemblages, and to correlations with vegetational history on adjacent land as derived from pollen assemblages. From deglaciation to about 8000 BP, dinoflagellate cyst assemblages dominated by Algidasphaeridium? minutum indicate Arctic-type sea-surface conditions, and pollen assemblages reveal tundra vegetation in southeastern Labrador. Codominance of A.? minutum and Brigantedinium spp. indicate persistence of cold sea-surface conditions (August temperature < 3 °C) and extensive sea-ice cover (up to 11 months/year) until ca. 6000 BP. However, the occurrence of Abies, which reached a maximum abundance at ca. 7000–6000 BP, and increasing percentages of Alnus indicate northward tree migration and development of shrub tundra as a result of warmer terrestrial conditions. Around 6000 BP, the significant occurrence of Peridinium faeroense and Nematosphaeropsis labyrinthus suggests the establishment of modern-like conditions in surface waters. This transition coincides with an abrupt increase in the abundance of Picea, associated with the regional development of spruce forests. The later marine record does not indicate any significant trend in sea-surface temperature, whereas decreasing abundance of arboreal pollen reflects opening of the forest cover in response to a slight cooling onshore. Thus, palynological analyses suggest complex changes in continental climate and marine hydrography along the coast of Labrador.

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