Jardine, P.E., Fraser, W.T., Lomax, B.H., Sephton, M.A., Shanahan, T.M., Miller, C.S. & Gosling, W.D. (2016) Pollen and spores as biological recorders of past ultraviolet irradiance. Scientific Reports 6, 39269. DOI: 10.1038/srep39269

OPEN ACCESS ONLINE:

Miller, C.S., Gosling, W.D., Kemp, D.B., Coe, A.L. & Gilmour, I. (2016) Drivers of ecosystem and climate change in tropical West Africa over the past ∼540 000 years. Journal of Quaternary Science online. DOI: 10.1002/jqs.2893

Shanahan, T.M., Hughen, K.A., McKay, N.P., Overpeck, J.T., Scholz, C.A., Gosling, W.D., Miller, C.S., Peck, J.A., King, J.W. & Heil, C.W. (2016) CO2 and fire influence tropical ecosystem stability in response to climate change. Scientific Reports 6, 29587. DOI: 10.1038/srep29587

Miller, C.S., Leroy, S.A.G., Collins, P.E.F. & Lahijani, H.A.K. (2016) Late Holocene vegetation and ocean variability in the Gulf of Oman. Quaternary Science Reviews 143, 120-132. DOI: 10.1016/j.quascirev.2016.05.010

 

Ghana Fieldwork 2014; Day 02

October 17, 2014
wesfraser

The second day of our fieldwork saw us; transfer from Accra to Fumesua where FORIG is located (approximately 20 km south of Kumasi); meet up with FORIGs deputy director Dr Stephen Adu-Bredu to discuss fieldwork and outreach plans; and settle in to FORIG for the next two weeks.

The next two days will involve building pollen traps ready for deployment next and finalising the detailed day-to-day plan of work.

Ghana Fieldwork 2014; Day 01

October 17, 2014
wesfraser

The latest round of fieldwork in Ghana is underway. Adele and myself are travelling out to collect pollen traps deployed last year as part of Adeles PhD research. We will be revisiting the sites in Ankasa, Bobiri and Kogyae that Adele and Phil visited last year. This time we are also accompanied by Lottie who will be delivering workshops on outreach activity engagement and the palaeoecology represented in the sediment record of Lake Bosumtwi.

Flying into land at Accra in the twilight we passed over a storm cell, with some fantastic convective clouds illuminated by flashes of lightning within. Once out of the airport, we were taken through the hustle and bustle of Accra streets, alive with evening activity. Finally reaching our destination for the night, the FORIG guesthouse. All three members of our party readily made for bed to get a good nights sleep before tomorrows journey to Kumasi.

Tropical pollen database online

April 7, 2014
WDG

PollenTo facilitate the our ability to identify pollen in the fossil record we have been building a searchable digital tropical pollen database. Our work builds upon the architecture provided by Bush & Weng (2007) for their Neotropical pollen database (Palaeoecology labFlorida Institute of Technology). We have used Bush & Weng’s freeware tool and expanded it to include an additional 364 pollen and spore types from tropical Africa. The images are of pollen reference material collected over the career of Prof. Dan Livingstone and curated in the Department of BiologyDuke University; full collection details of each specimen are indicated on each individual electronic record. In conjunction with the open access publication “Atlas of the tropical West African pollen flora” (Gosling et al., 2013) we have made the entire updated pollen database available. We hope that this will prove to be a useful tool for palynologists working in Africa and the wider tropics and that it will encourage others to develop the database further.

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Miller PhD thesis 2014

March 26, 2014
lottiemiller

Miller, C.S. (2014) 520,000 years of environmental change in West Africa. PhD Thesis, Department of Environment, Earth & Ecosystems, The Open University.

Lottie 2014

CSM (2014)

Abstract:

Global temperatures are predicted to rise by 2–2.5°C by 2065, profoundly affecting the Earth’s environment. The response of ecosystems to past climate fluctuations can inform on how systems will respond in the future. This thesis focuses on Quaternary environmental changes in West Africa, a region important because of its high ecological value and role in the global carbon cycle.

In 2004, the International Continental Drilling Program recovered c. 291m of sediments spanning the last c. 1 Myr from Lake Bosumtwi (Ghana). Pollen, charcoal and nitrogen isotopes (d15N) were analysed from the most recent c. 150m (c. 520 kyr). The latitudinal position and long duration of this core makes it unique for understanding West African monsoon dynamics and vegetation change.

To aid characterisation of the Bosumtwi pollen succession, an atlas of present-day pollen was constructed for 364 pollen and spore taxa.

The pollen record from Bosumtwi reveals dynamic vegetation change over the last c. 520 kyr, characterized by eleven biome shifts between savannah and forest. Savannah vegetation is dominated by Poaceae (>55%) associated with Cyperaceae, Chenopodiaceae-Amaranthaceae and Caryophyllaceae. Forest vegetation is palynologically diverse, but broadly characterised by Moraceae, Celtis, Uapaca, Macaranga and Trema. Low d15N values correspond to forest expansion and these are driven by high lake levels. The timescale indicates that the six periods of forest expansion correspond to global interglacial periods. The record indicates that the wettest climate occurred during the Holocene, and the driest during Marine Isotope Stage 7.

The vegetation and d15N records show a strong response to glacial-interglacial variability between c. 520–320 kyr and 130–0 kyr. Between c. 320–130 kyr there is a weaker response to glacial-interglacial cycles probably related to high eccentricity during the peak of the 400-kyr component of eccentricity, with high eccentricity resulting in greater seasonality and ultimately drier conditions.

Supervisors: Dr. William Gosling, Dr. Angela Coe (both The Open University) and Dr. Tim Shanahan (University of Texas at Austin)

Examined by: Prof. Henry Lamb (University of Aberystwyth) and Dr. Pallavi Anand (The Open University).

To borrow a copy from The Open University Library click here.

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