XPERT summer school 2015 – day 5

September 9, 2015


Institute for Biodiversity & Ecosystem Dynamics (21/08/2015)

The final working day of the XPERT summer school focused on projects, grants and careers.

la foto 1 Encarni, Carmen and Will

First thing in the morning Encarni Montoya reported the key findings from her NERC funded fellowship project, entitled: Evaluation of tropical forests sensitivity to past climate changes. Her presentation focused on new multi-proxy palaeoecological data from two lakes in Ecuador (high elevation Laguna Banos, and low elevation Laguna Pindo). Based on the palaeoecological proxies Encarni demonstrated the buffering capacity of different ecosystem structures in preventing/mitigating the environmental impacts of volcanic eruptions. Following Encarni, Carmen Luzuriaga (Director of the Pindo Mirador Research Station [PMRS], Universidad Tecnológica Equinoccial) presented modern ecological information and conservation efforts in the region of Laguna Pindo. Two key impacts were identified from the dialogue with the PMRS and the project team:

  • The proposed opening and dredging of Lake Pindo…

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XPERT summer school 2015 – day 3

August 20, 2015


Institute for Biodiversity & Ecosystem Dynamics (19/08/2015)

Today was proxy meta analysis day! Emiel van Loon took the participants through a number of exercises related to the statistical analysis of palaeoecological data. Much of the day was spent learning about, and experiencing, the challenges of correctly coding data for analysis. It seems to me that the key challenge with the statistical analysis of the data is not the statistical analysis, but working out the method for implementing the statistical analysis.

EdB Erik organising field work (not a BBQ)

After a day of coding in R everyone was ready for a beer, so thankfully tonight was BBQ night! I was dispatched in the afternoon, with Prof. dr. Hooghiemstra, to gather non-meat provisions for the evening, meanwhile Dr. Erik de Boer had organised a grill and meat from a local butcher. By the time I reached the BBQ beer, meat and cucumber…

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XPERT summer school 2015 – day 2

August 19, 2015


Institute for Biodiversity & Ecosystem Dynamics(18/07/2015)

The second day of the summer school was focused on understanding individual proxies. The day started with introductory talks to five proxies that can be used in palaeo-environmental research:

Students then broke up into four groups each of which focused on an individual proxy. Working collaboratively and in discussion with staff members each group was faced with a ‘raw’ data set for their proxy which they had to process. Once they had ‘played’ with the data for a while they then had to report back to the entire group.

Where available the groups worked with Lake Erazo data generated from the sediment cores recovered during the field school. After reporting back each groups was asked to make…

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XPERT summer school 2015 – day 1

August 19, 2015


Institute for Biodiversity & Ecosystem Dynamics (17/08/2015)

Most of the XPERT 2015 summer school participants who were coming from abroad arrived in Amsterdam on Saturday and all seem to have found the hotel, and each other, with little problem. Convening in the hotel as a group they arrived together at Science Park 904 just before 09:00 to be met by local students Tom Peters and Valerie van den Bos who guided them to the study room.

The first part of the first day was focused on getting to know each other. Introductions from all students and staff emphasised the diverse range of interests and expertise required to conduct palaeo-environmental research. In particular the introduction talks revealed the importance and range of time scales in palaeo-environemental change; e.g. from evolutionary change over geological time (Jordan Bishop), through high resolution past climate change during the Holocene (Nick Primmer/Elizabet Safont)…

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Evaluation of tropical forests sensitivity to past climate changes


XPERT are delight to announce that we will be incorporating an Open Science meeting, communicating the results of an international research project, as part of our Summer School. The meeting is open to all so if you are not a member of XPERT but would like to attend please contact William Gosling and further details can be provided.

20-21 AUGUST 2015
Institute for Biodiversity & Ecosystem Dynamics
University of Amsterdam
Science Park 904

TITLE: Evaluation of tropical forests sensitivity to past climate changes (FORSENS)
PI: Encarni Montoya
LOCATION: Department of Environment, Earth & Ecosystems, The Open University, UK.
FUNDING: Natural Environments Research Council, UK (NE/J018562/1)
DURATION: October 2012 until October 2015

The FORSENS project is a research project focused on understanding past environmental change in different locations within Ecuador (Andean and High Amazon). At the Open Science meeting, hosted by the University…

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XPERT Henry Hooghiemstra

June 22, 2015


Henry-Hooghiemstra-2We are delighted to be able to confirm the University of Amsterdam‘s leading expert in tropical palaeoecology, Emeritus Professor Henry Hooghiemstra, will be giving the first of our XPERT lectures; on Monday 17 August at Science Park 904. The lecture will be open to XPERT participants and other interested people. If you are not a member of XPERT but wish to attend please contact William Gosling to ensure that we have space for you.

TITLE: Exploration of dynamic tropical ecosystems in space and time

Abstract below…

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Andean bear

April 30, 2015


Bear-zoomOn our first field day three of the XPERT team (Valerie, Barry and Sarah) claim  they saw an Andean or spectacled bear (Tremarctos ornatus) in the paramo of the Cayambe-Coca National Park… Valerie did manage to provided some supporting evidence in the way photos.

An Andean bear, or a black dog? An Andean bear, or a black dog? (photo: van den Bos)

For more information on Andean bears visit: Andean bear foundation

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Sediment coring in Lake Erazo

April 14, 2015

XPERT field school is underway…


Lake Erazo Sediment coring on Lake Erazo. Photo by Valerie van den Bos (who spent the flight over reading a book on how to take the perfect photo)

By Alexandra Lee and Nick Primmer

To study the palaeo-environmental record of the Andean cloud forest, sediment cores were taken from the recently discovered Erazo lake. In mixed conditions of blazing sun and pouring rain, 14 researchers, one bus driver and several Ecuadorian guides hauled what felt like a ton of equipment up to the lake 2,300 m asl. In the centre of the lake, a wooden coring platform was mounted between two boats securely anchored at three positions. Using a modified Livingston corer with a drop hammer, five cores were successfully recovered from the lake up to a maximum depth of two metres. The main challenge encountered was the stability of the platform which resulted in several complications limiting the number of cores…

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