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Phytoliths as indicators of process in soils
Phytolith and starch research in the Australian-Pacific-Asian regions : the state of the art (1 - 3 August 2001 : Canberra)
Hart, Diane and Wallis, Lynley. Phytolith and starch research in the Australian-Pacific-Asian regions : the state of the art : papers from a conference held at the ANU, August 2001, Canberra, Australia, p.93-104
Two hypotheses concerning the mobility of phytoliths are evaluated in this paper. The first describes an implied assumption that phytoliths remain with the host sediment/ soil and is referred to as the static phytolith hypothesis. The alternative recognises the potential for movement, especially downwards, and is referred to as the mobile phytolith hypothesis. Both hypotheses were evaluated on three soil types in three different ways utilising the concept of phytolith depth functions (PDFs) on (i) trends in concentration, (ii) trends in diversity of the assemblage and (iii) trends in concentration of spherical and platey morphologies. The results indicate general support for the mobile and not the static phytolith hypothesis. In detail, a complex picture emerged. In two soil types (a podzol and a yellow podzolic) a consistent PDF occurred between total concentration and diversity but not with concentration of platey or spherical forms. The other soil type (solodic) revealed little consistency in trends between the different indices. In all cases there is strong evidence for biomixing, and in the sandy podzol for pervection.