Two malacological sequences sampled in loess sections P1 and P3 of Nussloch ( Rhine Valley, Germany) provide the most complete and precise molluscan record of western Europe for the Weichselian Lower and Middle Pleniglacial from about 70 to 34 cal. kyr BP. Qualitative and statistical analyses were performed on 134 mollusc samples. In the most complete Lower Pleniglacial record (P1), malacofauna changes reflect three short phases of vegetation development and climatic improvement related to soils and probably interstadials. A steppe to herb/shrub tundra shift characterizes the Lower-Middle Pleniglacial transition and is followed in both malacological records by the same general environmental trend (decline in vegetation and humidity increase) ending with a new increase in temperature and vegetation cover at the top of P3. In the Middle Pleniglacial, the impact of each shorter climatic change on the malacofauna is less recognizable due to a higher sediment compaction and also to being differently recorded in both sequences as the local topography affects soil water resources, soil and vegetation development and malacofauna adaptation. A comparison shows that the western European biostratigraphical framework can thus be improved by coupling molluscan records from loess sections to pollen sequences.
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