Vegetation and climate changes during the last two glacial-interglacial cycles in the western Mediterranean: A new long pollen record from Padul (southern Iberian Peninsula)

Jon Camuera, Gonzalo Jiménez-Moreno, María J. Ramos-Román, Antonio García-Alix, Jaime L. Toney, R. Scott Anderson, Francisco Jiménez-Espejo, Jordon Bright, Cole Webster, Yurena Yanes, José S. Carrión

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

72 Scopus citations


A new sediment core from Padul, Padul-15-05, provides a long and continuous sedimentary and paleoenvironmental record of the last ∼200 kyr. Here we present a detailed palynological study from this sedimentary sequence with new vegetation and paleoenvironmental data and a climatic interpretation for the last two climatic cycles from the southern Iberian Peninsula in the western Mediterranean region. Pollen analysis from this core shows orbital-scale vegetation oscillations (mainly forced by precession and eccentricity) pointing into insolation as the principal factor controlling vegetation changes at this latitude. The last two glacial-interglacial cycles (from MIS 6 to the present) as well as stadial and interstadial phases are well represented and characterized by significant oscillations in Mediterranean forest in the area, but several differences with respect to other Mediterranean long pollen records can be recognized. Some of these disparities between regions seem to be more related to different precipitation rates linked to the specific geographical features (e.g. strong topographic relief) than to latitudinal differences between the sites. In addition, a lake level reconstruction based on palynological data was developed and compared with the previous reconstruction from this record, representing local environmental changes in the Padul wetland that seems to be related to precipitation/evapotranspiration balance, and therefore, to changes in regional climate conditions. During glacial/stadial conditions recorded by maxima in xerophytes, the p/e increased due to very low evapotranspiration, resulting in high lake levels, while during warmer interglacial/interstadial phases (except for the MIS 5e), mainly represented in this record by maxima in the Mediterranean forest, water level decreased as a result of high evapotranspiration exceeding precipitation input. The comparison of the new Padul-15-05 pollen record with the two previous palynological studies from Padul shows significant differences mainly due to disagreements in the age control of the sequences. This study shows that an accurate age-depth model becomes essential when interpreting long paleoenvironmental and paleoclimate records.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)86-105
Number of pages20
JournalQuaternary Science Reviews
StatePublished - Feb 1 2019


  • Climate
  • Environmental changes
  • Glacial-interglacial cycles
  • Lake level
  • Padul
  • Vegetation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Global and Planetary Change
  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Archaeology
  • Archaeology
  • Geology


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