Late Quaternary ostracode stratigraphy of Mono Lake (California, USA): evidence for benthic ecosystem sensitivity to climate change

B. A.I.L.E.E.N. Hodelka, M. I.C.H.A.E.L.M. Mcglue, M. A.N.U.E.L.R. Palacios-Fest, A. D.A.M.J. Benfield, S. A.R.A.H.J. Ivory, S. C.O.T.T.W. Starratt, S. U.S.A.N.R.H. Zimmerman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The response of aquatic ecosystems in the Sierra Nevada (California, USA) to late Quaternary hydroclimate changes remains mostly unknown. Mono Lake, a large endorheic lake just east of the Sierra Nevada, contains an expanded archive of laminated sediments that can be used to examine the response of benthos to environmental changes. Fossil ostracodes from a radiocarbon-dated core were used to examine paleoecologic changes from ~16.6 to 4.3k cal a bp. Seven species were identified, with the co-occurrence of Limnocythere ceriotuberosa and Limnocythere staplini indicating a large SO42−-rich lake in the Pleistocene. The Younger Dryas was complex, with Fabaeformiscandona caudata reflecting a cold and deep lake ~13.0–12.2k cal a bp, followed by an interval of extensive littoral habitat from ~12.2–11.6k cal a bp. Ostracode diversity, valves g–1 and the ratio of adult:juvenile valves declined after ~10.7k cal a bp due to regression, altered hydrochemistry and seasonal anoxia. Strong seasonality during the Early Holocene is suggested by the presence of reworked ostracodes and macrocharcoal, delivered to Mono Lake by erosion of ancient lake beds in the basin. A depauperate ostracode fauna in the Middle Holocene suggests a strong sensitivity to drought in this ecosystem, which has implications for biodiversity in the future.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)648-664
Number of pages17
JournalJournal of Quaternary Science
Issue number4
StatePublished - May 2024

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • Earth and Planetary Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • Palaeontology

Cite this