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Title: Iron Age to Medieval entomogamous vegetation and Rhinolophus hipposideros roost in south-eastern Wales (UK)
Authors: Leroy, SAG
Simms, MJ
Keywords: Rhinolophus hipposideros;Bat guano;Palynology;Wales;Ogof draenen;Iron age to medieval
Issue Date: 2006
Publisher: Elsevier
Citation: Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology, 237(1): 4-18
Abstract: Karst cave systems are well developed in Wales (UK) and, in some instances, constitute important bat roosts. Ogof Draenen, near Blaenavon in south-east Wales, is the most recent major cave discovery (1994) with already > 70 km of passages explored spanning a vertical range of 148 m. With the exception of one small chamber (Siambre Ddu) located directly above the main Ogof Draenen system, very few bats have been noticed inside. Extensive accumulations of guano, attributable to Rhinolophus hipposideros, are however found in parts of the Ogof Draenen system. In places covering many square meters and sometimes building heaps > 0.5 m thick, these represent volumes not yet found in any other cave system in the British Isles. Although the date of the abandonment of the main Ogof Draenen system as a bat roost remains unknown, six radiocarbon dates on guano from Ogof Draenen place the occupation in the Iron Age to Medieval period at least. Palynological analysis was undertaken on ten samples distributed through the cave. Comparisons were made with a moss polster and a lake mud sample from the area to provide a first approximation of the regional modern pollen rain and with two modern guano samples, one from Siambre Ddu and one from Agen Allwedd cave (5 km to the north-west) to provide a temporal comparison with the fossil guano. Agen Allwedd cave currently is one of the largest active roosts for Lesser Horseshoe bats in Britain and lies close to the present northern limit of this endangered species in Europe. The main results are that the cave appears to have been used both as a summer and a winter roost; most of the Ogof Draenen guano is formed within c.1600 14C years and, if the largest heap is continuous, it has accumulated within 750 14C years, i. e. 0.16 mm.year-1; the fossil guano samples reflect a relatively closed oak forest with more abundant ivy (Hedera) and holly (Ilex) than at present; insect-pollinated plants such as Ilex, Acer, Hedera and Impatiens glandulifera are over–represented in the guano samples; in addition to the usual causes of bat roost decline (pesticides, pollution), in the case of Ogof Draenen, we may add entrance blocked by rock collapse and decline of the local forest cover as well as change in its composition.
ISSN: 0031-0182
Appears in Collections:Environment
Institute for the Environment

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guano ms final.pdf166.45 kBAdobe PDFView/Open
Fig 1LeroySimms.jpg1.44 MBJPEGThumbnail
Fig 2LeroySimms.jpg1.01 MBJPEGThumbnail
Fig 3LeroySimms.jpg606.12 kBJPEGThumbnail
fig 4 greypoo.jpg753.41 kBJPEGThumbnail
fig 5 walespollen diagram.jpg1.02 MBJPEGView/Open
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table 3 Draenen cal ages.jpg184.17 kBJPEGThumbnail

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