My name is Britte Heijink and I’m doing my MSc Biological Science thesis research project with Crystal McMichael and William Gosling. I travelled with Veerle Vink and Crystal to the Colombian part of Amazonia to collect samples for my project. At Amacayacu National Park, we collected soil cores from different locations in the plot. Now that we’re back in Amsterdam, I’m analysing the soils to reconstruct the fire and vegetation history from the plot using charcoal and phytoliths. I am specifically looking to see if humans have been present in the system and how they potentially affected the vegetation at Amacayacu.
I’ve completed my bachelor thesis for Bèta-Gamma (Liberal Arts and Sciences) under the supervision of Crystal and Will here at the UvA. I’m really excited to work with them again, and already looking forward to our meetings at the Oerknal 😉 I will be finished by the end of September, and then possibly return for a literature study.
One of the most wonderful experiences in my academic career so far has been the fieldwork to Panama and Colombia with Crystal, Veerle, and Nina. It was a lot of hard work, and 90% of our time was spent covered in mud, sweat, and insect repellant, but the experience of working in a tropical rainforest was completely worth it! Veerle and I will write another blog about our fieldwork soon. Come see us in the microscope lab if you want to hear our dangerous and amazing stories before that!
Montoya, E., Keen, H.F., Luzuriaga, C.X. & Gosling, W.D. (2018) Long-term vegetation dynamics in a megadiverse hotspot: The Ice-Age record of a pre-montane forest of central Ecuador. Frontiers in Plant Science 9, 196. doi: 10.3389/fpls.2018.00196
Yesterday was the second, and final, day of the Netherlands Annunal Ecology Meeting (NAEM) for 2018. Having stayed up rather later than I would normally for a Tuesday night, due to the the gezellig atmosphere, the scrambled eggs and coffee were very welcome for breakfast. We were then on with the conference with parallel sessions starting at 08:30.
First up I opted for the session on “Monitoring biodiversity change: Essential biodiversity variables and beyond” organised by Daniel Kissiling (University of Amsterdam) and Rob Jongman (Wageningen University & Research). In the session new IBED PhD research Zsofia Koma presented a nice talk on the potential of LiDAR for evaluating ecosystem change, and Franziska Schrodt (University of Nottingham) looked at how we can link biodiversity and geodiversity. I found the talk by Franziska highlighting the importance of linking the abiotic and biotic components of the landscape particulalry stimulating as it links very well with much ongoing work within both the Department of Theoretical & Computational Ecology (Biogeography & Macroecology) and Ecosystem & Landscape Dynamics (Biodiversity & Geodiversity in the tropics) here at IBED.
To take us to lunch were two plenary lectures on the theme of these were given by Katja Poveda (Cornell University) and Erik Polman (replacing Marchel Dicke; Wageningen University). Both talks illustrated the complexity of natural systems and landscapes.
After lunch I chose the “Animal Ecology” session charied by Chris Smit (University of Groningen) and Patrick Jansen (Wageningen Research & University). I really enjoyed the first two talks in this session which highlighted the complexity that animals add to ecosystems. First up Esther Rodriguez (PWN) showed the differential impact of European bison and wild horses on vegetation (Cromsigt et al., 2017). Then Annelies van Grinkel (University of Groningen) presented her work trying to discover if deer in the Netherlands are still scared of wolves after the absence of wolves from the Netherlands for the last 150 years; this included some nice camera trap footage of deer running away from hand soap!
Overall a fun meeting, I met lots of new people, and saw lots of great talks so will definatly be back next year. Thanks to all the organisers for putting on such as show.