Introducing Milan Teunissen van Manen

February 9, 2016
WDG

Milan Teunissen van ManenMy name is Milan Teunissen van Manen and I just finished my first week as a Ph.D. researcher with the Palaeoecology & Landscape Ecology (P&L) group in the Institute for Biodiversity & Ecosystem Dynamics (IBED) at the University of Amsterdam (UvA)!

My undergraduate studies were interdisciplinary in nature: I did a BSc Beta-Gamma (Institute for Interdisciplinary Studies (IIS), UvA) where students are taught to collaborate between different disciplines. Ecology has always been an interest of mine, so I was quick to specialize in that field. In my final year of my bachelor I came in contact with paleoecology and did not hesitate to make sure my first master’s project (MSc Biological Science, IBED, UvA) would be with the P&L research group (IBED) – a worked on a project on tropical rainforest dynamics in Miocene Amazonia. After that I got the chance to test my skills outside research institutes: during the Tesla consultancy Minor (IIS) I got firsthand practical experience in developing urban green areas from start to finish for the municipality of Amsterdam. The focus of that project was to increase the ecologic, educational, scientific, and social value of the natural areas on Amsterdam Science Park. It was great to see my scientific background put to good use outside the research community. The project is still active today.

After a short period of working in education and sustainability consultancy I seized the opportunity to, once more, join the P&L research group – this time as a Ph.D. student under the watchful eyes of William Gosling and Boris Jansen. My project revolves around characterizing biomarker and modern pollen-rain signals across the altitude of the Ecuadorian Andes vegetation. A great opportunity at the frontier of tropical research!

If the first week is any indication, I foresee to a lot of collaboration, hard work, exploration and adventure in the coming years!

To find out more about me visit:

Past environmental change on Mauritius: Unknown macro-fossils

December 18, 2015
WDG

Unknown macro-fossil JdK-type2

Unknown macro-fossil JdK-type2

Past environmental change on Mauritius has been the focus of research with the Palaeoecology & Landscape Ecology group at the University of Amsterdam (UvA) for a number of years. This research has been lead by Erik de Boer and Henry Hooghiemstra and has already resulted in a number of key publications on the environmental history of the island (de Boer et al., 2013, 2014, 2015). One current past environmental change research project working on Mauritius is being undertaken by Jona de Krui; a student within the UvA BSc Biology program supervised by myself and Erik. Jona’s is working on a study site (modern day swamp) on the north-east of the island and is focused on improving our understanding changes in the:

  • depositional environment (loss-on-ignition analysis),
  • fire activity (macro-charcoal analysis), and
  • vegetation (macro-fossils) over the last c. 1000 years.

Jona has now completed the analysis of all his samples and we are currently collating the data sets; however, a number of the macro-fossils which he has discovered remain unidentified. Below are images of the unknown macro-fossils if you have any suggestions on identifications please comment, or get in touch directly.

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Journal articles

  • Clement, C.R., Denevan, W.M., Heckenberger, M.J., Junqueira, A.B., Neves, E.G., Teixeira, W.G. & Woods, W.I. (2015) The domestication of Amazonia before European conquest. Proceedings of the Royal Society of London B: Biological Sciences 282. DOI: 10.1098/rspb.2015.0813
  • Oliver, T.H., Heard, M.S., Isaac, N.J.B., Roy, D.B., Procter, D., Eigenbrod, F., Freckleton, R., Hector, A., Orme, C.D., Petchey, O.L., Proenca, V., Raffaelli, D., Suttle, K.B., Mace, G.M., Martin-Lopez, B., Woodcock, B.A. & Bullock, J.M. Biodiversity and Resilience of Ecosystem Functions. Trends in Ecology & Evolution. DOI: 10.1016/j.tree.2015.08.009
  • Watkins, C. (2015) Oliver Rackham OBE FBA 1939–2015. Landscape History 36, 5-8. DOI: 10.1080/01433768.2015.1044280
    COMMENT: One of the books that inspired me to enter this field of research was Rackham’s Trees and woodlands in the British landscape; published the year I was born…

Plus three papers discussed during the University of Amsterdam BSc Biology Tropical Ecology course trip to De Hortus Botanicus Amsterdam:

  • Bush, M.B. (1995) Neotropical plant reproductive strategies and fossil pollen representation. American Naturalist 145, 594-609. Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2462970
  • Cárdenas, M.L., Gosling, W.D., Sherlock, S.C., Poole, I., Pennington, R.T. & Mothes, P. (2011) The response of vegetation on the Andean flank in western Amazonia to Pleistocene climate change. Science 331, 1055-1058. DOI: 10.1126/science.1197947
  • Logan, A.L. & D’Andrea, A.C. (2012) Oil palm, arboriculture, and changing subsistence practices during Kintampo times (3600–3200 BP, Ghana). Quaternary International 249, 63-71. DOI: 10.1016/j.quaint.2010.12.004

 

Introducing Corine Driessen

July 7, 2015
corine102

DriessenCHi Everyone,

It’s very nice to be invited to write something for this blog, let me introduce myself a little bit.

I am a MSc Earth Sciences student at the University of Amsterdam. Currently I am working on my master thesis at Naturalis Biodiversity Center, under supervision of Niels Raes, Willem Renema and William Gosling. We are looking at species migration between Australia and Asia during the Miocene, and we compare it to migration between N and S America at the dawn of the Great American Biotic Interchange. To do so I’m analysing data on fossil occurrences in Australia and Southeast Asia. Hopefully this research will lead to interesting new insights.

Before starting my MSc Earth Sciences I did a bachelor in Biology at Leiden University. I decided to do a master’s in Earth Sciences because it offered a broader perspective of the natural world and its processes.

I like analysing and sorting out data like I’m currently doing for my thesis with fossil occurrence data. It also played a major role in my internship at TNO – Caribbean Branche Office, where I was involved in starting a database containing information on Aruba’s subsurface. During my internship I also experienced the “Green Aruba” conference and was involved in organising a geological excursion for some of the attendants. I am very interested in environmental issues and solutions, such as the transition to renewable energy. New technologies spike my interest a lot and I like being aware of innovations in a whole lot of fields.

Hopefully I will have my thesis ready within a couple of months, and can give an update about some of the findings.

Corine

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