PhD position: When was the South Pacific colonised?

Funded PhD studentship at:
Palaeoenvironmental Laboratory
Department of Geography & Environment
University of Southampton

Title: When was the South Pacific colonised? A lake sediment approach to understanding climate:human drivers of ecosystem change on remote Pacific Islands

Supervisors: Sandra Nogue, Pete Langdon, David Sear (all University of Southampton), and William Gosling (University of Amsterdam)

Deadline: 2 January 2017

To find out more about the project, check eligibility criteria, and details of how to apply click here.

The team lake coring in the South Pacific. Photo Jon Hassall, see more: https://goo.gl/viiLSQ
The team lake coring in the South Pacific. Photo Jon Hassall, see more: https://goo.gl/viiLSQ

Rationale

The Pacific islands of Polynesia were among the last places on earth to be colonised by humans. The precise dates of colonisation are debated – a situation which arises from the different sources of evidence. New lake sediment records from the Cook Islands (Atiu, Mangaia) and Samoa (Upolu) show very clear evidence of disturbance, but what is unclear is to what extent the signal represents the arrival of humans or a change in climate. A key question for the analysis of sedimentary records is the ability to distinguish natural variability in the environment of Pacific Islands from that arising from the arrival of humans in a temporal and spatial context. We aim to use lipid biomarkers, fossil charcoal, and pollen preserved in lake sediments to identify: 1) the presence of humans and/or livestock that were brought with them, and 2) the related environmental change. Multiproxy approaches supported by statistical analysis, will be deployed to three sites where we already have good chronological controls and high resolution records of palaeoclimate. We are well placed to apply new methods and higher resolution analyses to address fundamental questions about the response of remote pacific islands to climate and human forcing.

 

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: