Occurrence of the Mytilus edulis complex on Nordaustlandet, Svalbard: radiocarbon ages and climatic implications
AbstractFragments of the blue mussel (Mytilus edulis complex) are present on raised beaches in the vicinity of Langgrunnodden and Kinnvika, northwestern Nordaustlandet, Svalbard. Both of these localities are north of 80° N. New radiocarbon age determinations, together with earlier results, show that Mytilus colonies were present in this area for much of the fi rst half of Holocene time—from approximately 9000 to 5800 14C yr BP. Mytilus has also been recorded farther south in Nordaustlandet, at three localities in Wahlenbergfjorden. Age determinations of shells at two of these sites have yielded results in the range of 7400 to 6900 14C yr BP. The arrival of Mytilus to Nordaustlandet coincided with the early Holocene infl ux of warm North Atlantic Water off the west coast of Spitsbergen. The drastic warming in early Holocene time, which resulted in the rapid melt-off of glaciers and ice caps in Svalbard, also facilitated the establishment and perserverance of Mytilus colonies at this high latitude.
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