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Title: Holocene environmental change : a palaeolimnological study in Belize
Author: Breen, A. M.
Awarding Body: University of Edinburgh
Current Institution: University of Edinburgh
Date of Award: 2002
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This thesis reconstructs the environmental changes that have occurred in Belize over the last 10,000 years. The study focuses on two lagoons: New River Lagoon and Honey Camp Lagoon. Two key methodologies were employed: diatoms and stable isotopes (oxygen and carbon). Both 14C and 210Pb dating were used to provide a chronology. This work is the first detailed palaeolimnological study to be undertaken in Belize and consequently has enabled an improved understanding of climate dynamics in the circum-Caribbean. The Maya are the native peoples of Belize and this investigation provides an insight into their relationship with the environment in which they lived. Lakes in Belize were sampled for water chemistry variables and modern diatoms. The lakes sampled follow a pathway of chemical evolution from calcium bicarbonate to sodium chloride-dominated systems. The chemical characterisation of the water bodies was not sufficient to enable a transfer function to be completed, but it is apparent that habitat also has an extremely influential role in determining the distribution of diatom species in the environments studied. Taxonomy is an issue which needs to be considered carefully when undertaking a diatom study in a new area. This was addressed through an investigation of the diatom species Mastogloia smithii var. lacustris. This study highlighted not only the role of the local environment in influencing species characteristics but also the differences between the features of type, published and modern material. The significance of these findings can only be judged with the collection of improved ecological data from all three sources.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available