Environments Through Time paper presentations

November 6, 2018

The 2018 edition of the University of Amsterdam masters course “Environments Through Time” is now up and running. The course sits at the interface between ecology, physical geography and archaeology and seeks to provide students with a better understanding of how long-term (>100’s years) datasets can provide insights in to past environmental change.

In the first week of the course the students had to present their ‘favourite’ paper in just three (3) minutes! Quite a challenge and lots of fun. This years selection of papers themed around:

  • mega-fauna extinctions (Bakker et al., 2016; Gill et al., 2009; van der Kaars et al., 2017),
  • impacts of human land use practices (Bitusik et al., 2018; Carson et al., 2014; Chepstow-Lusty et al., 2009; Gauthier et al., 2010; Tisdall et al., 2018), and
  • climatic drivers of vegetation change (Haug et al., 2001; Tierney et al., 2017; Tudhope et al., 2001).

For full list of papers presented see below.

In the second and third weeks (now ongoing) students get to deconstruct published chronologies and conduct time series analsis of multi-proxy datasets. Data for these excercises is frequently is extracted from databases such as Neotoma, Pangea, NOAA – paleoclimatology datasets database and the Global Charcoal Database – which shows the importance of these open access databases for developing effective research led eductation, as well as pushing forward to frontiers of research.

Environments Through Time is taught in English, delivered by myself (William Gosling), Crystal McMichael and Milan Tunissen van Manen and currently has 31 registered students from MSc Biological Sciences and MSc Earth Sciences degrees.

Full list of papers presented by students on the Environments Through Time course in 2018

Bakker, E.S., Gill, J.L., Johnson, C.N., Vera, F.W.M., Sandom, C.J., Asner, G.P. & Svenning, J. (2016) Combining paleo-data and modern exclosure experiments to assess the impact of megafauna extinctions on woody vegetation. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 113, 847-855.

Bitusik, P., Trnkova, K., Chamutiova, T., Sochuliakova, L., Stoklasa, J., Pipik, R., Szarlowicz, K., Szacilowski, G., Thomkova, K., Sporka, F., Starek, D., Surka, J., Milovsky, R. & Hamerlik, L. (2018) Tracking human impact in a mining landscape using lake sediments: A multi-proxy palaeolimnological study. Palaeogeography Palaeoclimatology Palaeoecology 504, 23-33.

Carson, J.F., Whitney, B.S., Mayle, F.E., Iriarte, J., Prümers, H., Soto, J.D. & Watling, J. (2014) Environmental impact of geometric earthwork construction in pre-Columbian Amazonia. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 111, 10497-10502.

Chepstow-Lusty, A.J., Frogley, M.R., Bauer, B.S., Leng, M.J., Bossenkool, K.P., Carcaillet, C., Ali, A.A. & Gioda, A. (2009) Putting the rise of the Inca Empire within a climatic and land management context. Climate of the Past 5, 375-388.

Cremaschi, M., Zerboni, A., Mercuri, A.M., Olmi, L., Biagetti, S. & di Lernia, S. (2014) Takarkori rock shelter (SW Libya): an archive of Holocene climate and environmental changes in the central Sahara. Quaternary Science Reviews 101, 36-60.

English, P.A., Green, D.J. & Nocera, J.J. (2018) Stable Isotopes from Museum Specimens May Provide Evidence of Long-Term Change in the Trophic Ecology of a Migratory Aerial Insectivore. Frontiers in Ecology and Evolution 6, 14.

Gauthier, E., Bichet, V., Massa, C., Petit, C., Vanniere, B. & Richard, H. (2010) Pollen and non-pollen palynomorph evidence of medieval farming activities in southwestern Greenland. Vegetation History and Archaeobotany 19, 427-438.

Gill, J.L., Williams, J.W., Jackson, S.T., Lininger, K.B. & Robinson, G.S. (2009) Pleistocene Megafaunal Collapse, Novel Plant Communities, and Enhanced Fire Regimes in North America. Science 326, 1100-1103.

Graham, R.W., Belmecheri, S., Choy, K., Culleton, B.J., Davies, L.J., Froese, D., Heintzman, P.D., Hritz, C., Kapp, J.D., Newsom, L.A., Rawcliffe, R., Saulnier-Talbot, E., Shapiro, B., Wang, Y., Williams, J.W. & Wooller, M.J. (2016) Timing and causes of mid-Holocene mammoth extinction on St. Paul Island, Alaska. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America 113, 9310-9314.

Haug, G.H., Hughen, K.A., Sigman, D.M., Peterson, L.C. & Rohl, U. (2001) Southward migration of the Intertropical Convergence Zone through the Holocene. Science 293, 1304-1308.

Kuosmanen, N., Marquer, L., Tallavaara, M., Molinari, C., Zhang, Y., Alenius, T., Edinborough, K., Pesonen, P., Reitalu, T., Renssen, H., Trondman, A. & Seppa, H. (2018) The role of climate, forest fires and human population size in Holocene vegetation dynamics in Fennoscandia. Journal of Vegetation Science 29, 382-392.

Paduano, G.M., Bush, M.B., Baker, P.A., Fritz, S.C. & Seltzer, G.O. (2003) A vegetation and fire history of Lake Titicaca since the Last Glacial Maximum. Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology 194, 259-279.

Pillai, A.A.S., Anoop, A., Sankaran, M., Sanyal, P., Jha, D.K. & Ratnam, J. (2017) Mid-late Holocene vegetation response to climatic drivers and biotic disturbances in the Banni grasslands of western India. Palaeogeography Palaeoclimatology Palaeoecology 485, 869-878.

Reitz, E.J., McInnis, H.E., Sandweiss, D.H. & deFrance, S.D. (2016) Terminal Pleistocene and Early Holocene fishing strategies at Quebrada Jaguay and the Ring Site, southern Peru. Journal of Archaeological Science-Reports 8, 447-453.

Riehl, S., Marinova, E., Deckers, K., Malina, M. & Conard, N.J. (2015) Plant use and local vegetation patterns during the second half of the Late Pleistocene in southwestern Germany. Archaeological and Anthropological Sciences 7, 151-167.

Smith, R.J. & Mayle, F.E. (2018) Impact of mid- to late Holocene precipitation changes on vegetation across lowland tropical South America: a paleo-data synthesis. Quaternary Research 89, 134-155.

Stuart, A., Kosintsev, P., Higham, T. & Lister, A. (2004) Pleistocene to Holocene extinction dynamics in giant deer and woolly mammoth. Nature 431, 684-689.

Tierney, J.E., Pausata, F.S.R. & deMenocal, P.B. (2017) Rainfall regimes of the Green Sahara. Science Advances 3, e1601503.

Tinner, W. & Kaltenrieder, P. (2005) Rapid responses of high-mountain vegetation to early Holocene environmental changes in the Swiss Alps. Journal of Ecology 93, 936-947.

Tisdall, E., Barclay, R., Nichol, A., McCulloch, R., Simpson, I., Smith, H. & Vesteinsson, O. (2018) Palaeoenvironmental evidence for woodland conservation in Northern Iceland from settlement to the twentieth century. Environmental Archaeology 23, 205-216.

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., Narnberg, D., Schanfeld, 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.

Whitney, B.S. & Cardenas, M.L. (2017) Lagacies of pre-Columbian land use on Latin American ecosystem composition and diversity: A case for paleoecology. PAGES Newsletter 25, 84-85.

Williams, S., Bolitho, E. & Fox, S. (2003) Climate change in Australian tropical rainforests: an impending environmental catastrophe. Proceedings of the Royal Society B-Biological Sciences 270, 1887-1892.

Zimov, S.A., Zimov, N.S., Tikhonov, A.N. & Chapin,F.S.,,III. (2012) Mammoth steppe: a high-productivity phenomenon. Quaternary Science Reviews 57, 26-45.


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