Coastal ecology and palaeoecology of the Baltic and adjacent seas
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The Transfer Function Concept

transfer function cartoon

Transfer functions are a tool for estimating past environmental conditions from fossil assemblages using the modern relationship between species and the environment. This is particularly useful when long term water chemistry records are lacking, so the pre-disturbance environmental conditions are unknown.

Diatoms are particularly useful environmental indicators as they are sensitive to environmental conditions and their silicious cell walls are abundant and well preserved in most coastal sediments. They can be identified to species level.

In the MOLTEN DEFINE and DETECT projects we use diatoms-nutrient transfer functions, supported by other proxies including pigments, dinoflagellates and forams. The date of the sediment cores is estimated using 210Pb and 137Cs.