Eric Grimm – RIP

November 16, 2020
WDG

This note is to acknowledge the passing yesterday of one of the most influential figures in the fields of palynology and palaeoecology, Eric Grimm. While I did not know Eric well he did visit Amsterdam twice in recent years. Firstly, as part of a collaborative initiative to digitise pollen data from the University of Amsterdam archives (March-July 2017), and secondly to train Data Stewards for the African Pollen Database (January 2020). During these visits Eric was generous with his time, masterful with his knowledge, and infectious with his enthusiasm. He will be sadly missed. My deepest condolences to his family and friends. Rest in peace Eric.

Some photos from the meeting in January

Professor of Marine Palaeobiodiversity

October 8, 2020
WDG

Prof. dr. Willem Renema

Prof. dr. Willem Renema Special Chair in Marine Palaeobiodiversity

Willem Renema, head of the Marine Biodiversity research group at Naturalis, has been appointed as a Special Chair in Marine Palaeobiodiversity within the Department of Ecosystem & Landscape Dynamics at the University of Amsterdam. I am delighted that Willem has joined the team coupling his expertise in marine tropical systems with our existing focus on terrestrial tropical settings will, I am sure, provide many new avenues of scientific endeavour. Catalysing collaboration between Naturalis and UvA will be five PhD researchers, employed on the Marie Skłodowska-Curie Innovative Training Network, who will be jointly supervised by Naturalis and UvA staff. 

  • To find out more about Willem and his appointment click here.
  • To visit Willem’s Naturalis web site click here.
  • To find out more about 4D-Reef click here.

Job: Post-doc “Digital Environmental Sustainability”

September 28, 2020
WDG

Do you have a PhD in Physical Geography, Environmental Sciences, Landscape Ecology or Soil Ecology? Have you got educational and research experience working with digital data to contribute to climate, geographic or biodiversity science? If so please consider applying for the 4-year post-doctoral position “Digital Environmental Sustainability” currently available within the Department of Ecosystem & Landscape Dynamics (Institute for Biodiversity & Ecosystem Dynamics, University of Amsterdam).

Closing data: 29 November 2020

For full information click here.

In search for the historical roots of grasses

August 11, 2020
WDG

In search for the historical roots of grasses: A review of Neogene grass history in the Amazon drainage basin

Corresponding article: Kirschner, J. A., & Hoorn, C. (2019). The onset of grasses in the Amazon drainage basin, evidence from the fossil record. Frontiers of Biogeography. DOI: 10.21425/F5FBG44827

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Meet team “Global change & vegetation dynamics” @ Plant Ecology & Diversity

August 4, 2020
WDG

Plant Ecology & DiversityWithin the overarching context of Plant Ecology & Diversity the “Global change & vegetation dynamics” subject area aims to place a temporal component on key themes such as biodiversity, conservation and ecosystem function. Manuscripts are welcome that use long-term (palaeo-) ecological approaches, modern field observations and laboratory experiments, and computational modelling to explore change and dynamics within ecosystems. We welcome all formats of manuscripts to this section (original research articles rapid communication articles, review articles, and perspectives articles). If you have any questions about the potential suitability of your research in the journal please do not hesitate to get in contact.

The editorial team handling this section of the journal currently comprises myself as Subject Editor and six Associate Editors. To find out more about us, our research interests and expertise read on…

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Revealing pre-colonial, colonial and post-colonial Kenya

June 29, 2020
WDG

Rahab Kinyanjui

USING PALAEOECOLOGICAL PROXIES TO DETERMINE ANTHROPOGENIC IMPACT ON VEGETATION DURING PRE-COLONIAL, COLONIAL AND POST-COLONIAL PERIOD IN KENYA’S HIGHLANDS-CASE STUDY ABERDARE RANGES

By Rahab KINYANJUI (National Museums of Kenya: Nairobi)

In spite of the challenges and uncertainties that the larger scientific community is currently facing, I am delighted and humbled to accept one of the British Ecological Society’s Ecologist in Africa research grant for 2020. The grant will support my historical ecology project whose main goal is to apply palaeoecological and archaeological proxies to investigate the extent of anthropogenic impacts on vegetation structure and composition of one of the Kenyan Central highlands before, during, and after the colonial period.

The Aberdare range forest provide an ideal setting for this study because they have been farmed by local populations since long before colonialism, and they were heavily impacted during colonial times because of their fertile soils. This pilot project aims to reveal the land-use and land-cover dynamics of the Aberdare range forest, and it is hoped that eventually similar studies will be undertaken in other parts of the Kenyan highland forests.

Keep on pollen sniffing

May 5, 2020
WDG

By Cas Verbeek (University of Amsterdam)

Luckily, in spite of these trying times, we are allowed to continue our research in Amsterdam and on the Veluwe to determine the effects of air pollution on airborne pollen grains. Unfortunately for us (but generally perhaps one of the few silver linings of this situation), the COVID-19 lockdown has largely eliminated our main variable of interest; air pollution.

With traffic in the city at a minimum, any chemical differences might not be as pronounced between the city and rural areas. However, this may actually provide us with a unique opportunity to get a baseline of the pollen chemistry in Amsterdam with relatively little pollution. This baseline may also be of interest to projects working on urban air quality and greenifying urban spaces, such as the projects in the Amsterdam Knowledge Mile Park, which is included amongst our sampling locations.

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For more about our project on pollen and pollution in the Netherlands see other posts:

Plant Ecology & Diversity: Subject Editors

April 24, 2020
WDG

As part of the ongoing reconfiguration of the journal Plant Ecology & Diversity the Editorial Board has now be organised into five themes, each covering different aspects of the journals scope, to streamline the process. Each theme has a Subject Editor who feeds articles to the team of Associate Editors. The themes and Subject Editors are:

  • Biogeography (F. Xavier Picó – Estación Biológica de Doñana (EBD-CSIC), Spain)
  • Bioitic Interactions (Luis Daniel Llambi – University of the Andes, Venezuela)
  • Environment & Plant Functioning (John Grace, University of Edinburgh, UK)
  • Evolution & Systematics (Richard Abbott, University of St Andrews, UK)
  • Global Change & Vegetation Dynamics (William Gosling, University of Amsterdam, Netherlands)

If your research is relevant to an international audience and fits into one of these themes please consider submitting your research for our consideration. To find out more about how to submit, the Aims & Scope and Editorial Board please visit the journal web site, by clicking here.

Pollen in the Netherlands

April 21, 2020
WDG

By Letty de Weger (Leiden University Medical Centrum)

In the coming weeks lots of pollen can be collected. Due to the nice, sunny weather birch trees are in full flower and release their pollen into the air.  This is of course not so good news for the individuals sensitized to the pollen of birch because they can suffer from hay fever symptoms.

Next to birch also the ash trees are flowering. The black buds of the ash branches have bursted, releasing the purple anthers (first figure). Among those anthers you can see some that release their yellow pollen  (second figure).

For more about our project on pollen and pollution in the Netherlands see other posts:

Palaeoecology of Africa

April 20, 2020
WDG

I am delighted to announce that a new volume of the classic book series Palaeoecology of Africa is now under development. This new volume (hopefully number 35) will focus on “Quaternary Vegetation Dynamics” and build on recent initiatives to develop the “African Pollen Database”. The volume will be guest edited by Anne-Marie Lezine (LOCEAN), Louis Scott (University of the Free State) and myself, along side the series editor Jürgen Runge (Johann Wolfgang Goethe University). If you are interested to contribute please get in touch.

Scope

The Quaternary Vegetation Dynamics volume of the long-running Palaeoecology of Africa series  will showcase palynological work from across the African continent and surrounding regions, and place this in the context of past climatic, human and evolutionary change. We are keen to use this opportunity to catalyse the archiving of previously published and new datasets into the open access online African Pollen Database. The volume will be published entirely open access online and will contain four types of manuscript: (i) Research papers, (ii) Data papers, (iii) Review papers, and (iv) Perspectives.

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