Field work in Ecuador

IBEDs Crystal McMichael hard at work sampling sediments in the Andes
IBEDs Crystal McMichael hard at work sampling sediments in the Andes

Insights into recent field work in Ecuador by a team lead by Crystal McMichael can be found in a recent blog from our collaborators at the Instituto Geofisico, Escuela Politecnica Nacional, Quito (Ecuador).

Trabajo colaborativo entre Volcanólogos y Palenólogos potenciará el conocimiento sobre el Paleoclima en el Valle de Latacunga en los últimos 20 mil años by Patricia Mothes

Images of modern pollen from Ghana

The images taken by Adele Julier to help her with pollen identifications during her PhD at The Open University (UK) are now available to download. Please note these images are not of reference material but identifications, made by Adele and myself, of the pollen grains found within her pollen traps. The pollen traps were deployed within vegetation study plots in wet evergreen forest, semi-deciduous moist forest, and the forest-savanna transition zone in Ghana. Further publications on this work and a thesis coming soon…

Julier, A.C.M. & Gosling, W.D. (2017) Modern pollen types, Ghana (v.2). Figshare. doi: 10.6084/m9.figshare.5240956.v2

Example of pollen images collated by Adele

Connecting Two Realms

Article from: Archaeology a publication of the Archaeological Institute of America

Archaeologists rethink the early civilizations of the Amazon
By ROGER ATWOOD
Monday, June 12, 2017

Rubicon project to link fossil pollen with plant traits

Dear Ecology of the past blog readers,

This time you are reading a message from a non-expert in paleoecology. My name is Masha and I will spend the next two years on a very exciting postdoctoral fellowship funded by NWO (Dutch National Science Foundation) under their Rubicon scheme in close collaboration with William Gosling (University of Amsterdam).

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Success for BSc project students

BSc students on the Palaeoecology course prior to undertaking a research project with us.
Many BSc students undertook our “Palaeoecology” course prior to choosing to do a research project with us.

This year 15 (fifteen!) bachelors students completed their research projects in palaeoecology based within the Department of Ecosystem & Landscape Dynamics at the University of Amsterdam. The students had a variety of backgrounds with the majority coming from the BSc Biology and the BSc Future Planet Studies programs.

Each project was set up to test a particular ecological or biogeographic hypothesis. Investigations included the exploration of the role of humans in modifying ecosystems in Amazon, the nature of the pre-farming landscape in the the Netherlands, and how to chemically identify fossil charcoal. In undertaking their projects individual students had the opportunity to variously develop skills in microscopy, spatial modelling, or analytical chemistry. The high quality of the data produced means that hopefully many of these data sets can be used in future scientific publications. Well done to all!

If you are interested in conducting a similar project (at any academic level) with us please do not hesitate to get in contact. For further details of ongoing research within the Department of Ecosystems & Landscape Dynamics visit our web pages by clicking here.

Pollen diagrams in colour!

I discovered what I think is the first colour pollen diagram this week. Published in 1948 and still looks beautiful.

Selling, O.H. (1948) On the late Quaternary history of the Hawaiian vegetation. PhD thesis, University of Stockholm, Honolulu, Hawaii.

Images of the copy held at the University of Amsterdam library.

Introducing: Seringe Huisman

Seringe Huisman

Hi all! My name is Seringe (Dutch for lilac flower), and unsurprisingly I am a biology student. I completed my BSc Biology at the VU University, specializing in ecology. Being fascinated by tropical rainforest since I was a kid, I attended a Tropical Ecology course at the University of Amsterdam (UvA), resulting in a research project with Crystal McMichael from the Palaeoecology & Landscape Ecology group on the late-Holocene fire history of western Amazonia. Besides performing this palaeoecological project, focusing on the aspect of ancient human activity, I followed courses of Latin America Studies to broaden my perspectives on the current socio-environmental complexity and conservation status of the area. This year, I have gotten the amazing opportunity to join Crystal McMichael on a fieldwork expedition to the Ecuadorian Amazon!

Seringe Huisman in the field...
Seringe Huisman in the field…

The fieldwork will be part of my Master’s thesis, elaborating on the regional patterns of vegetation composition changes in relation to human disturbance. I will be taking sediment cores from two lakes in the Sangay region of Ecuador, perform charcoal and phytolith analysis to reconstruct fire and vegetation assemblages over the late Holocene and compare the results to previously established records across western Amazonia. While I am currently attending the MSc Biological Sciences Limnology & Oceanography Master’s track at UvA, I could not help but directing my first project into Paleoecology again! My field trip is largely made possible by obtaining €1150 of grants through the Treub-Maatschappij and the Amsterdam University Fund, for which I am very grateful.

I am super excited to be heading to Ecuador soon, and will be back in a month with field stories, mosquito bites and hopefully some suitable sediments!

Seringe Huisman and palaeoecology friends
Seringe Huisman and palaeoecology friends