Records of past animals and human ecosystem manipulation

vhaHaving recently become an Associate Editor for Vegetation History & Archaeobotany I have decided that I will try and highlight a couple  papers from the journal each months which have caught my attention. My first selections are:

  • A study which demonstrated the close relationship between the fossil fungal spore record and historical accounts (Orbay-Cerrato et al., 2017).
  • An investigation of a human modification of ecosystems on the sub-tropical Pacific island of New Caledonia using fossil wood charcoal remains (Dotte-Sarout, 2017)

For more detailed thoughts on these papers read on…

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Scientific methods in archaeology

Preparing my lecture for the new Scientific Methods in Archaeology course for VU Amsterdam and University of Amsterdam students studying a minor in Geoarchaeology. The focus will be on detecting human activity in the past, to illustrate this I will include Easter Island/Rapa Nui as a case study. We will focus on how palaeoecological evidence can be used to gain insights into past human activity. Whilst putting this together I discovered these nice documentaries looking at humans and their environmental impacts on Easter Island/Rapa Nui which I wanted to share, they show how much effort people would have had to put into altering their landscape:

For further information see also:

Rull, V., Cañellas-Boltà, N., Saez, A., Margalef, O., Bao, R., Pla-Rabes, S., Valero-Garcés, B. & Giralt, S. (2013) Challenging Easter Island’s collapse: The need for interdisciplinary synergies. Frontiers in Ecology and Evolution 1, DOI: 10.3389/fevo.2013.00003

PhD position: When was the South Pacific colonised?

Funded PhD studentship at:
Palaeoenvironmental Laboratory
Department of Geography & Environment
University of Southampton

Title: When was the South Pacific colonised? A lake sediment approach to understanding climate:human drivers of ecosystem change on remote Pacific Islands

Supervisors: Sandra Nogue, Pete Langdon, David Sear (all University of Southampton), and William Gosling (University of Amsterdam)

Deadline: 2 January 2017

To find out more about the project, check eligibility criteria, and details of how to apply click here.

The team lake coring in the South Pacific. Photo Jon Hassall, see more: https://goo.gl/viiLSQ

The team lake coring in the South Pacific. Photo Jon Hassall, see more: https://goo.gl/viiLSQ

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Shanahan, T.M., Hughen, K.A., McKay, N.P., Overpeck, J.T., Scholz, C.A., Gosling, W.D., Miller, C.S., Peck, J.A., King, J.W. & Heil, C.W. (2016) CO2 and fire influence tropical ecosystem stability in response to climate change. Scientific Reports 6, 29587. DOI: 10.1038/srep29587

Past environmental change on Samoa

Zoe and William just after the graduation ceremony (UvA)

Zoe and William just after the graduation ceremony (UvA)

Two students (Zoe van Kemenade and Tessa Driessen) have recently completed projects looking at past environmental change on Samoa working in the Research Group of Palaeoecology & Landscape Ecology at the University of Amsterdam (UvA). Zoe’s project, part of her BSc Future Planet Studies (major Earth Sciences) at UvA, was entitled “A multi‐proxy analysis on the effect of climate and human activity on the environment of Samoa during the Holocene” and investigated charcoal, macro-fossils, and algae. Tessa’s project, “Biodiversity, fire and human dynamics on Samoa over the last 9200 years”, was completed as an internship during her MSc in Environmental Biology at Utrecht University (UU) that was co-supervised by Rike Wagner-Cremer. Tessa focused on the fossil pollen record to reconstruct past vegetation change. Both projects were conducted in cooperation with Jon Hassel and David Sear (both University of Southampton) who provided access to the Samoan sediments; for more on the Southampton Pacific Islands projects check out their blog Palaeoenvironmental Laboratory at the University of Southampton.

The results from both projects, and work by the University of Southampton team, will be presented at this years GTO conference (European conference of tropical ecology) in Gottingen next week.

William giving his personal view on the work of Tessa at her gradation ceremony (Utrecht University)

William giving his personal view on the work of Tessa at her gradation ceremony (UU)

 

European Pollen Database meeting & workshop

EPDLOGO

Posted on behalf of Thomas Giesecke:
EUROPEAN POLLEN DATABASE
Meeting and training workshops
1-3/06/2016
Aix-en-Provence, France

We offer exciting keynote lectures, an extensive poster session to showcase your research, and two days of training with experts in software, databases, and modelling.

We want your opinion on how to develop the European Pollen Database (EPD) to make it a better resource for research, education, and data storage.

NO registration fee

Workshop topics include:

  • Plotting and archiving palaeoecological data, using Tilia and Neotoma
  • Charcoal analysis software and database
  • How to use modern surface samples for ‘analogue’ reconstructions of the past
  • LandCover6k: Pollen Productivity Estimates (PPEs), REVEALS/LOVE models
  • Help in pollen and Non-Pollen Palynomorph (NPP) identification
  • Using the EPD with ‘R
  • Age vs. depth modelling

Click links below for further information on:

Event supported by:

PAGESlogo