PCRG publications 2013

December 20, 2013
WDG

Gosling, W.D., Miller, C.S. & Livingstone, D.A. (2013) Atlas of the tropical West African pollen flora. Review of Palaeobotany and Palynology, 199, 1-135

Gosling, W.D. & Williams, J.J. (2013) Ecosystem service provision sets the pace for pre-Hispanic societal development in the central Andes. The Holocene, 23, 1619-1624

Miller, C.S., Leroy, S.a.G., Izon, G., Lahijani, H.a.K., Marret, F., Cundy, A.B. & Teasdale, P.A. (2013) Palynology: A tool to identify abrupt events? An example from Chabahar Bay, southern Iran. Marine Geology, 337, 195-201

Roucoux, K.H., Lawson, I.T., Jones, T.D., Baker, T.R., Coronado, E.N.H., Gosling, W.D. & Lähteenoja, O. (2013) Vegetation development in an Amazonian peatland. Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology, 374, 242-255

Rull, V., Montoya, E., Nogué, S., Vegas-Vilarrúbia, T. & Safont, E. (2013) Ecological palaeoecology in the neotropical Gran Sabana region: Long-term records of vegetation dynamics as a basis for ecological hypothesis testing. Perspectives in Plant Ecology, Evolution and Systematics, 15, 338-359

Funded PhD studentship: Tropical vegetation, environment and climate

March 21, 2013
WDG

William Gosling

William Gosling pollen trapping in west Africa. A studentship on the new grant will investigate modern pollen-vegeation relationships

Fully funded NERC PhD studentship tied to 500,000 years of solar irradiance, climate and vegetation changes project.
To start October 2013 now avaliable with the Palaeoenvironmental Change Research Group.

Title: Tropical vegetation, environment and climate: The present is the key to the past

Supervisors:
William D. Gosling (The Open University),
Wesley Fraser (Oxford Brookes University),
Barry Lomax (University of Nottingham),
Mark Sephton (Imperial College London) &
Yadvinder Malhi (University of Oxford)

  • Investigate the dynamics of modern tropical forest and savannah ecosystems
  • Training in micro fossil and organic geochemical analysis
  • Develop a comprehensive understanding of modern pollen-vegetation relationships
  • Field work in Ghana, in conjunction with Forestry Research Institute of Ghana
Making pollen traps on field work in Ghana

Making pollen traps on field work in Ghana

Understanding how vegetation responded to past climate change requires the development of well constrained relationships between living floras, environment and climate. This project will help constrain the great uncertainty which exists as to how tropical ecosystems are represented in the fossil record by examining the relationship between modern vegetation and the pollen it produces. The project will analyse modern pollen rain using a combination of traditional microscopic analysis [1] and cutting edge geochemical techniques [2]. We anticipate that the findings will provide new insight into past vegetation and climatic change.

For further information on the project and how to apply see the full advert: NERC PhD advert. Prior to applying please check eligibility for NERC funding by clicking here.

Closing date: 25th April, interviews will be held at The Open University during May.

To find out more about the department, research environment and student life at The Open Univerity visit the Department of Environment, Earth & Ecosystems, the Centre for Earth, Planetry, Space & Astronomical Research (CEPSAR) and OU RocSoc web pages.

Work as part of a larger research team in the UK and abroad.

Work as part of a larger research team in the UK and abroad.

References:

[1] Gosling, W.D., et al., Differentiation between Neotropical rainforest, dry forest, and savannah ecosystems by their modern pollen spectra and implications for the fossil pollen record. Review of Palaeobotany and Palynology, 2009. 153(1-2): p. 70-85.
[2] Lomax, B.H., et al., Plant spore walls as a record of long-term changes in Ultraviolet-B radiation. Nature Geoscience, 2008. 1(9): p. 592-596.

Diagenetic stability of sporopollenin opens door to study deep-time palynomorphs

October 26, 2012
wesfraser

Watson, JS, Fraser, WT & Sephton, MA (2012) Formation of a polyalkyl macromolecule from the hydrolysable component within sporopollenin during heating/pyrolysis experiments with Lycopodium spores. Journal of Analytical & Applied Pyrolysis 95, 138-144. doi:10.1016/j.bbr.2011.03.031

This article demonstrates the stability window of sporopollenin under laboratory simulated diagenetic conditions. We show that sporopollenin is resistant to chemical alteration when subject to low-to-moderate diagenetic conditions, maintaining its original aliphatic:phenolic co-polymer configuration. Under the most extreme of conditions tested here we show that the co-polymer configuration begins to defunctionalise and reploymerise to be replaced in-situ by a predominantly aliphatic polymeric structure, including aliphatic components significantly shorter than originally were present in the starting material. The outcome of this study shows that fossil sporopollenin may still retain its original chemical composition, even after being subjected to diagenesis. Such a finding opens the door for investigating deeper time chemical composition of sporopollenin and environmentally-influenced variations in sporopollenin structure, beyond that currently achieved.

Evolutionary stasis of sporopollenin

October 5, 2012
wesfraser

Fraser,WT, Scott, AC, Forbes, AES, Glasspol, IJ, Plotnick, RE, Kenig, F & Lomax, BH (2012) Evolutionary stasis of sporopollenin biochemistry revealed by unaltered Pennsylvanian spores. New Phytologist, doi:10.1111/j.1469-8137.2012.04301.x

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Do plants wear sun-block?

July 13, 2012
wesfraser

A growing body of evidence suggests that plants alter their chemical composition in relation to the amount of incoming solar radiation (“insolation“) they are exposed to during life.  Chemical changes are induced in order to provide protection against the deleterious effects of ultraviolet (UV) radiation; a relatively small, but important component of the total solar spectrum.  UV radiation is linked with a range of detrimental biological effects, primarily stemming from damaged DNA.  As sessile organisms, plants need to employ various mitigation mechanisms to prevent/reduce damage induced by UV radiation.  Such mechanisms include effective DNA repair pathways, physiological adaptations, and UV-absorbing compounds.  It is this last mechanism, UV-absorbing compounds (UACs), that is discussed here.

Lycopodium spore chemistry

Lycopodium spore chemistry can be divided into two distinct groups; aliphatic components and phenolic components.

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