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A test of Sporormiella representation as a predictor of megaherbivore presence and abundance

  • Diana Raper (a1) (a2) and Mark Bush (a1)

Spores of the dung fungus Sporormiella have been suggested to indicate the presence, perhaps also the abundance of past megaherbivore populations. Nonetheless, basic studies demonstrating a correlation between Sporormiella concentration in lacustrine sediments and modern herbivore abundance are lacking. This study of Sporormiella representation in grazed and ungrazed landscapes provides supporting evidence for the application of Sporormiella as an indicator of megaherbivore presence and abundance in ancient landscapes. However, Sporormiella representation is spatially sensitive to the distance from the dung source. In lakes where Sporomiella are abundant in shoreline sediments, they decline sharply with increasing distance from the lake edge. Although this study provides supporting evidence for the application of Sporormiella as a proxy for herbivore presence and abundance, independent proxies should be applied in conjunction with Sporormiella to control for changes in lake size.

Corresponding author
*Corresponding author. College of Forestry, Oregon State University, Corvallis, OR 97331, USA. Email Address:
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Quaternary Research
  • ISSN: 0033-5894
  • EISSN: 1096-0287
  • URL: /core/journals/quaternary-research
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