Environments Through Time – week 1

November 3, 2017

Me teaching human impacts on environmental change...

Me teaching human impacts on environmental change…

The first, ever, week of the Environments Through Time course at the University of Amsterdam has just finished. The course sits within the MSc Biological Sciences (Ecology & Evolution) and MSc Earth Sciences (Geo-ecosystem Dynamics) but is also avaliable to other masters students. In the first week we have thought about four main topics:

  1. Scales of change (ecological, geological, and human).
  2. Humans as drivers of environmental change.
  3. Extra-terrestrial forcing of environmental change.
  4. Earth system feedbacks.

The week was completed with each student giving a three (3) minute presentation of their favourite paper. The papers presented ranged from the extinction of giant sharks, through forest-savannah transitions, to how climate change thwarted Ghengis Kahn. Next week we continue by disecting how chronologies are constructed.

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The Enviornments Through Time course is taught by: William Gosling, Crystal McMichael, and Milan Teunissen van Manen.


Ashworth, A.C. & Nelson, R.E. (2014) The paleoenvironment of the Olympia beds based on fossil beetles from Discovery Park, Seattle, Washington, U.S.A. Quaternary International 341, 243-254.

Baker, P.A., Seltzer, G.O., Fritz, S.C., Dunbar, R.B., Grove, M.J., Tapia, P.M., Cross, S.L., Rowe, H.D. & Broda, J.P. (2001) The history of South American tropical precipitation for the past 25,000 years. Science 291, 640-643.

Buntgen, U. & Di Cosmo, N. (2016) Climatic and environmental aspects of the Mongol withdrawal from Hungary in 1242 CE. 6, 25606.

Doyen, É., Vannière, B., Berger, J., Arnaud, F., Tachikawa, K. & Bard, E. (2013) Land-use changes and environmental dynamics in the upper Rhone valley since Neolithic times inferred from sediments in Lac Moras. The Holocene 23, 961-973.

Dupont-Nivet, G., Krijgsman, W., Langereis, C.G., Abels, H.A., Dai, S. & Fang, X. (2007) Tibetan plateau aridification linked to global cooling at the Eocene-Oligocene transition. 445, 635.

Fortuny, J., Marce-Nogue, J., Steyer, J.-., Esteban-Trivigno, S., Mujal, E. & Gil, L. (2016) Comparative 3D analyses and palaeoecology of giant early amphibians (Temnospondyli: Stereospondyli). 6, 30387.

Horikawa, K., Martin, E.E., Basak, C., Onodera, J., Seki, O., Sakamoto, T., Ikehara, M., Sakai, S. & Kawamura, K. (2015) Pliocene cooling enhanced by flow of low-salinity Bering Sea water to the Arctic Ocean. 6, 7587.

Hultberg, T., Lagerås, P., Björkman, L., Sköld, E., Jacobson, G.L., Hedwall, P. & Lindbladh, M. (2017) The late-Holocene decline of Tilia in relation to climate and human activities – pollen evidence from 42 sites in southern Sweden. Journal of Biogeography 44, 2398-2409.

Jong, R.d., Björck, S., Björkman, L. & Clemmensen, L.B. (2006) Storminess variation during the last 6500 years as reconstructed from an ombrotrophic peat bog in Halland, southwest Sweden. Journal of Quaternary Science 21, 905-919.

Langdon, P.G., Barber, K.E. & Hughes, P.D.M. (2003) A 7500-year peat-based palaeoclimatic reconstruction and evidence for an 1100-year cyclicity in bog surface wetness from Temple Hill Moss, Pentland Hills, southeast Scotland. Quaternary Science Reviews 22, 259-274.

Liu, K., Reese, C.A. & Thompson, L.G. (2005) Ice-Core Pollen Record of Climatic Changes in the Central Andes during the last 400 yr. Quaternary Research 64, 272-278.

Lukas, S., Spencer, J.Q.G., Robinson, R.A.J. & Benn, D.I. (2007) Problems associated with luminescence dating of Late Quaternary glacial sediments in the NW Scottish Highlands. Quaternary Geochronology 2, 243-248.

Munoz, S.E. & Gajewski, K. (2010) Distinguishing prehistoric human influence on late-Holocene forests in southern Ontario, Canada. The Holocene 20, 967-981.

Munoz, S.E., Schroeder, S., Fike, D.A. & Williams, J.W. (2014) A record of sustained prehistoric and historic land use from the Cahokia region, Illinois, USA. Geology 42, 499-502.

Pearce, T.A., Olori, J.C. & Kemezis, K.W. (2010) Land Snails from St. Elzear Cave, Gaspe Peninsula, Quebec: Antiquity of Cepaea Hortensis in North America. Annals of Carnegie Museum 79, 65-78.

Pimiento, C. & Clements, C.F. (2014) When Did Carcharocles megalodon Become Extinct? A New Analysis of the Fossil Record. PLoS ONE 9(10), e111086.

Sasaki, N. & Takahara, H. (2012) Fire and human impact on the vegetation of the western Tamba Highlands, Kyoto, Japan during the late Holocene. Quaternary International 254, 3-11.

Sjöström, J., Norström, E., Risberg, J. & Schoeman, M.H. (2017) Late Holocene palaeoenvironmental reconstruction from Mpumalanga Province (South Africa) inferred from geochemical and biogenic proxies. Review of Palaeobotany and Palynology 246, 264-277.

Tudhope, A.W., Chilcott, C.P., McCulloch, M.T., Cook, E.R., Chappell, J., Ellam, R.M., Lea, D.W., Lough, J.M. & Shimmield, G.B. (2001) Variability in the El Niño-Southern Oscillation Through a Glacial-Interglacial Cycle. Science 291, 1511-1517.

van der Kaars, S., Miller, G.H., Turney, C.S.M., Cook, E.J., Nurnberg, D., Schonfeld, J., Kershaw, A.P. & Lehman, S.J. (2017) Humans rather than climate the primary cause of Pleistocene megafaunal extinction in Australia. Nature Communications 8, 14142.

van der Lubbe, H.J.L., Krause-Nehring, J., Junginger, A., Garcin, Y., Joordens, J.C.A., Davies, G.R., Beck, C., Feibel, C.S., Johnson, T.C. & Vonhof, H.B. (2017) Gradual or abrupt? Changes in water source of Lake Turkana (Kenya) during the African Humid Period inferred from Sr isotope ratios. Quaternary Science Reviews 174, 1-12.

Villavicencio, N.A., Lindsey, E.L., Martin, F.M., Borrero, L.A., Moreno, P.I., Marshall, C.R. & Barnosky, A.D. (2016) Combination of humans, climate, and vegetation change triggered Late Quaternary megafauna extinction in the Última Esperanza region, southern Patagonia, Chile. Ecography 39, 125-140.

Vitas, A. Tree-Ring Chronology of Scots Pine (Pinus sylvestris L.) for Lithuania. Baltic Forestry 14, 110-115.

Willard, D.A., Bernhardt, C.E., Holmes, C.W., Landacre, B. & Marot, M. (2006) Response of Everglades tree islands to environmental change. Ecological Monographs 76, 565-583.

Wolfe, A.P., Reyes, A.V., Royer, D.L., Greenwood, D.R., Doria, G., Gagen, M.H., Siver, P.A. & Westgate, J.A. (2017) Middle Eocene CO2 and climate reconstructed from the sediment fill of a subarctic kimberlite maar. Geology 45, 619.


One Comment

  1. Pingback: Environments Through Time – weeks 2 & 3 – Ecology of the past

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