The main aim of this methodology is to describe the changes in vegetation and in the frequency of fires in order to decipher possible fluctuations in the climate as well as in human influence in the Alpine ecosystems of Sierra Nevada.

Method and effort

Pollen and carbon from sediments of lakes and wet grasslands during the Holocene (the last 12,000 years) are studied at high resolution by core sampling of the sediment in the zones of greatest depth in these basins by a gravity corer and a Livingstone corer. The cores are 1.5 to 2.5 m long and samples are taken at intervals of 0.5 cm. The sediments are dated primarily by carbon-14 dating.

After separation of the pollen from the rest of the sediments and preparation of the samples, they are analysed under the light microscope. With respect to the study of the carbons, after processing and disaggregation, the samples are sieved. The carbons in the different sediment fractions are counted under a binocular microscope (x10-20).


The sampling campaigns are made at certain points, taking the entire sedimentary record only once.


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Anderson, R. S., Jiménez-Moreno, G., Carrión, J.S. y Pérez-Martínez, C. 2011. Holocene vegetation history from Laguna de Río Seco, Sierra Nevada, southern Spain. Quaternary Sci. Rev., 30: 1615-1629.
Jiménez-Moreno, G. y Anderson, R.S. 2012. Holocene vegetation and climate change recorded in alpine bog sediments from the Borreguiles de la Virgen, Sierra Nevada, southern Spain. Quaternary Res., 77: 44-53
Millspaugh, S.H. y Whitlock. C. 1995. A 750-yr fire history based on lake sediment records in central Yellowstone Nacional Park. The Holocene, 5: 283-292.