PCRG November & December

January 10, 2013
WDG

The last two months of 2012 were exceptionally busy! 

On the research front

On the teaching and administration front

Two tasks dominated the non-research activity: 1) teaching the Geological Record of Environmental Change (S369) exams assessment and assigment, and 2) as Post Graduate Tutor keeping up with NERC developments for the new Doctoral Training Partnerships.

PCRG members on filed work in Cayabe-Coca National Park (2012). Left to right: Hayley, Encarni, William and Frazer.

PCRG members on field work in Cayabe-Coca National Park (2012). Left to right: Hayley, Encarni, William and Frazer.
Encarni and Frazer have returned to Ecuador Jan-Feb 2013 to collect further sedimentary cores. More on the blog soon…

Finally all that remains is to say “Happy New Year” from the PCRG and on with 2013… 🙂

Palynologishe Kring

January 9, 2013
WDG

Prof. H. Hoogiemstra Chair of Palaeoecology & Landscape ecology

Prof. H. Hoogiemstra Chair of Palaeoecology & Landscape ecology at IBED

Dutch and Belgian Palynology meeting
University of Amsterdam
13/12/2012

Many thanks to Henry Hooghiemstra for the invitation to present at the recent palynology meeting in Amsterdam hosted by the Institute of Biodiversity and Ecosystems Dynamics (IBED). The program of talks was broad and interesting ranging from the deep time geological history of the Amazon basin (Carina Hoorn) to the use of video game technology in visulizing landscapes (Bodo Schuetze); watch videos of his work, or read the thesis.

View Schuetze's work on recreating Mauritius in 3D on Vimeo

View Schuetze’s work on recreating Mauritius in 3D on Vimeo

 I contributed some new work on human-landscape interaction in the central Andes, entitled: Ecosystem service provision sets the pace for pre-Columbian Andean societal development”. It was very exciting to get feedback from such an esteemed audience on this new work. The days talks concluded with the IBED seminar given by Mark Bush (Florida Institute of Technology) which countinued the South American human-environment theme but we moved to the lowlands for “Amazonia in 1491: A paleoecological perspective”. Mark’s talk built on his recent work exmining the extent of human impact on Amazonia (references 1-3 below) which has cautioned against assuming widespread and intensive human impact within Amazonia prior to the arrival of Europeans.

Following the seminars we had drinks at the institute and an excellent meal in Amsterdam. Thanks again to Henry and all those at IBED who hosted a high class and scientifically stimulating meeting.

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Two studentships avaliable

January 9, 2013
WDG

Two NERC algorithm funded PhD studentships are currently available with the PCRG. The projects are focused on understanding past environmental change in west tropical Africa and Amazonian-Andean Ecuador. Both projects will involve field work and build on on-going research within the lab.

Closing date 31/01/2013

Fieldwork in 2012 near Papallacta (Ecuador).

One project will work on samples collected during fieldwork in 2012 near Papallacta (Ecuador).

Further project details and how to apply below…
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Encarni Montoya

January 9, 2013
WDG

Hi all,

I am Encarni Montoya and I have recently joined the Palaeoenvironmental Change Research Group.

Field work in Ecuador 2012

Field work in Ecuador 2012

I am a NERC Research Fellow with a project entitled “Evaluation of forests sensitivity to past climatic changes” (FORSENS), which will be running until September 2015. The project is based on a multi-site, multi-proxy and multi-disciplinary approach to aid the understanding of Neotropical forests’ dynamics since the Last Glacial Maximum (LGM; c. 21,500 years ago).

I presented details in a poster at the recent INTIMATE/CELL-50k Join Workshop this 12-15th November at Budapest, Hungary. Click here to view my poster and find out more details about the project.

Prior my arrival to PCRG, I was working at The Botanical Institute of Barcelona (CSIC-ICUB, Palynology and Paleoecology Lab) and the Autonomous University of Barcelona (Tropical and High Mountain Paleoecology). I am a palaeoecologist mainly focused on Late Glacial environmental change in Neotropics, being interested in the climate-vegetation-human relationships. For this purpose, I mainly use pollen, microscopic charcoal and non-pollen palynomorphs. I am also involved in several editor tasks, as regular referee os several Q1 journals, and the editor of the “Humans and Biosphere Commission” Newsletter.

If you are interested in my project please do not hesitate to get in contact.

Understanding pollen and spore diversity

November 2, 2012
WDG

Linnean Society Palynology Specialist Group meeting
Linnean Society of London
Burlington House
1st November 2012

Linnean Society (November 2012)

PCRG members at the Linnean Society 1st November
Left-Right: Hayley Keen, William Gosling, Alice Kennedy and Encarni Montoya

Yesterday four members of the Palaeoenvironmental Change Research Group (PCRG) visited the Linnean Society of London to attended the annual palynology meeting. The talks were excellent and covered a wide range of issues in palaynology  from the configuration of Late Triassic Cassopollis grains (Wolfram Kurschner, University of Oslo), through how pollen and spores are built (Stephen Blackmore, Royal Botanic Garderns, Edinburgh) to understanding global patterns of mass-extinctions with particular focus on the Cretaceous-Paleogene (Vivi Vajda, University of Lund). For further information on the days program click here to visit the meeting web site.

The PCRG contribution to the meeting was made by Hayley Keen who presented the first paper related to her doctoral research to an exteral audience entitled “Pollen counting for diverse tropical ecosystems”. The paper presented:  

  1. A statistical model (developed by co-author Felix Hanke) which simulaltes pollen counting in order to estimate the size of pollen count required to develop a robust ecological insight from the fossil pollen record, and
  2. compared model predictions with empirical data from a diverse tropopical ecosystem (Mera, Ecuador) to assess the reliablity of the model.

It is hoped the application of the model to fossil pollen counting will allow more efficient and effective use of palynologists time. The paper was very well recieved despite the audible intake of breath when Hayley recommened that to characterize pollen richness (diversity) in some settings pollen counts in excess of 2000 grains might be required!

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