Mediterranean deltaic-coastal plains represent relatively underexplored depositional archives that record the Holocene response of vegetation and depositional systems to high-frequency climate changes. In this study, we examine a 25 m-thick succession of Holocene age (core EM2) recovered in the innermost portion of the Po delta plain of northern Italy, applying an integrated palyno-stratigraphic approach. The existence of a paludal, freshwater setting inland of the line of maximum marine transgression favoured a low degree of pollen transportation. Application of cluster analysis to this palynological record leads to the identification of pollen-derived biomes and seven (auto)ecological groups of taxa that discriminate environmental signal (depositional facies) and regional climate conditions within a well-dated coastal record. Percentage variations of hygrophytes, aquatics and pasture-meadow herbs reveal local environmental dynamics, enabling the detailed facies characterisation of the cored succession, especially in terms of water table conditions. Framed into a chronologically constrained, high-resolution facies context, the proportion of montane taxa (climate degradation indicator) relative to Mediterranean taxa and Quercus + other deciduous trees (climate optimum indicators) highlight a vegetation-climate variability in the plain that fits with Bond events, especially for the early-mid Holocene (i.e., Preboreal and Boreal Oscillation, 8.2 ka event), supporting a strong Mediterranean–North Atlantic climate connection. For the first time, pollen from a continental succession of the Adriatic area clearly depicts the effects of the 8.2 ka cooling event on vegetation patterns (progressive degradation in high altitude communities) and depositional dynamics (increased fluvial activity), assessing the major role played by climate changes in shaping coastal landscapes in addition to glacio-eustatic variations.
Linking Holocene vegetation dynamics, palaeoclimate variability and depositional patterns in coastal successions: Insights from the Po Delta plain of northern Italy / Cacciari, M.; Amorosi, A.; Marchesini, M.; Kaniewski, D.; Bruno, L.; Campo, B.; Rossi, V.. - In: PALAEOGEOGRAPHY PALAEOCLIMATOLOGY PALAEOECOLOGY. - ISSN 0031-0182. - 538:(2020), pp. 109468-109469. [10.1016/j.palaeo.2019.109468]