Aquatic community response to volcanic eruptions on the Ecuadorian Andean flank

October 9, 2017
WDG

Online, open access:

Matthews-Bird, F., Brooks, S.J., Gosling, W.D., Gulliver, P., Mothes, P. & Montoya, E. (2017) Aquatic community response to volcanic eruptions on the Ecuadorian Andean flank: Evidence from the palaeoecological record. Journal of Paleolimnology 58: 437-453. DOI: 10.1007/s10933-017-0001-0

Matthews-Bird, F., Brooks, S.J., Holden, P.B., Montoya, E. & Gosling, W.D. (2016) Inferring late-Holocene climate in the Ecuadorian Andes using a chironomid-based temperature inference model. Climate of the Past 12, 1263-1280. DOI: 10.5194/cp-12-1263-2016

Quantifying late-Holocene climate in the Ecuadorian Andes using a chironomid-based temperature inference model

January 21, 2016
WDG

midge headOur latest manuscript has just been made available, via Climate of the Past Discussions, for comment and review. Click here to check it out. We look forward to hearing what people think.

Quantifying late-Holocene climate in the Ecuadorian Andes using a chironomid-based temperature inference model
Matthews-Bird, F., Brooks, S.J., Holden, P.B., Montoya, E. & Gosling, W.D.

Abstract below

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Open access online:

Matthews-Bird, F., Gosling, W.D., Coe, A.L., Bush, M., Mayle, F.E., Axford, Y. & Brooks, S.J. (2015) Environmental controls on the distribution and diversity of lentic Chironomidae (Insecta: Diptera) across an altitudinal gradient in tropical South America. Ecology and Evolution. DOI: 10.1002/ece3.1833

 

Ecology of the past 2014

January 4, 2015
WDG

William shortly after a haircut

William shortly after first Dutch haircut

2014 has seen more people visit this blog and more “clicks” through to articles than in any previous year (see Annual Report 2014). So thanks for reading! I hope that the information provided is useful. For me 2014 has been a big year of change; with the largest work related change being taking up my new post at the University of Amsterdam in September.

2015 promises to be an exciting year with a number of key projects generating exciting findings (including chironomid climate for the Neotropics, Andean flank evolution, and ‘deep time’ palynomorphs) , the start of the XPERT network, and new proposals and collaborations being developed here in the Netherlands (including new proposal to work in Europe!).

Any comments, thoughts or contributions on the blog welcome.

William

Paleoecology course University of Amsterdam

September 29, 2014
Valerie

Students examining a sediment core extracted with a Russian corer

Students examining a sediment core extracted with a Russian corer

Last week, Will – our new associate professor at the University of Amsterdam – joined us on the field residential module of the undergraduate “Paleoecology” course; 7 days exploring the sediments and vegetation of the Twente region of the Netherlands. The experience provided Will with a lot of information on Dutch language, landscapes, and students; which should be useful to him next year as he will be coordinating the course!

Students examining peat exposures.

Students examining peat exposures.

During this very intensive (4-week) paleoecology course, students get background lectures in past environmental change, learn to identify microfossils in the laboratory (pollen and chironomids), and go on the excursion to experience fieldwork. The field module involves excursions during the day, when students have to identify plant species indicative of different vegetation types in relation to soil nutrient availability and moisture content. The evenings are reserved for the students own paleoecological research investigation; this year students were reconstructing the vegetation history and climate change during the late-glacial from a lake sediment core from Germany. Once data collection was completed the students had to interpret the pollen assemblages they found using the knowledge of modern day ecosystems they gained throughout the week. On the final evening they presented their work to the whole group. The final results they achieved were quite impressive.

Students presenting findings from the days work

Students presenting findings from the days work

I am very curious as to what the course will be like next year, led by Will, and how he will tweak and turn it to his liking.

 

Debating the Vera hypothesis

Debating the Vera hypothesis

 

Frazer on climate change & insects – AGU video

September 8, 2014
WDG

Frazer Matthews-Bird’s video on his PhD research examining long-term (>50 year) climate change from fossil insects (chironomids) has been shortlisted for the American Geophysical Union (AGU) student competition prize. Please watch Frazer’s video and “Like”; the most liked video will win free entry into the AGU Fall meeting 2014.

View all the videos on the AGU YouTube channel.

Three new videos on the Ecology of the Past Youtube channel

July 25, 2014
philjardine

We’ve got a bumper crop of palaeoecological film making for you today, with three videos uploaded to our very own ‘Ecology of the Past’ Youtube channel. We’ve got an interview with Will Gosling, talking about the Bosumtwi pollen chemistry project and his own background and career (it’s a timely and somewhat poignant addition to the channel, because this is Will’s last day at The Open University before heading off to Amsterdam). Also posted are research presentations by Frazer Bird and Hayley Keen, which were filmed during the PhD student conference on 21st May. For the first time at the Open University these presentations were carried out in the Three Minute Thesis (3MT®) format.

Williams PhD thesis 2011

May 13, 2014
WDG

Williams, J.J. (2011) Human and climate impacts on tropical Andean ecosystems. PhD Thesis, Department of Earth & Environmental Sciences, The Open University.

JJW Bolivia (2007)

JJW Bolivia (2007)

Abstract:

Population growth and predicted global climate change are applying new, and increasing, pressure to mountain environments, but the consequences of these changes upon the biodiverse and vulnerable Tropical Andean ecosystems are poorly understood. This thesis explores past human-climate-ecosystem interactions using multi-proxy palaeolimnological investigations (fossil pollen, spore, charcoal and Chironomidae (midges); elemental abundance, colour spectra and magnetic susceptibility) of two sites in the eastern Bolivian Andes (Lake Challacaba and Laguna Khomer Kocha Upper) over the last c. 18,000 years. During the deglaciation and Holocene ecosystems were exposed to varying climatic stress levels, and pressures imposed by the development of human cultures.

Examination of preserved ecological assemblages, including the first assessment of subfossil central Andean Chironomidae, reveals ecosystem sensitivity to changes in temperature, moisture, fire regime, lake level and salinity. Charcoal analysis from Laguna Khomer Kotcha Upper reveals changes in burning at c. 14,500, 10,100 and 6,400 cal yr BP. Concomitant palynological shifts shows this climatically controlled fire regime was a transformative agent of Andean vegetation, particularly for the threatened, high elevation, Polylepis woodlands. Pollen and geochemical data from Lake Challacaba indicate two periods of aridity (c. 4000−3370 and 2190−1020 cal yr BP), these broadly correlated to El Niño/Southern Oscillation variations. Increased Sporormiella abundance after c. 1,340 cal yr BP indicate changes in trade routes and agricultural practices; demonstrating human adaption to environmental change and interconnectivity to Tiwanaku and Inca civilizations.

The long-term response of the terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems, reconstructed from these lakes, has provided insights into how Tropical Andean ecosystems may respond to future changes in temperature, precipitation and human interference. The palaeoenvironmental data has implications for conservation management; it indicates that spatial and temporal variations in site sensitivity, exposure and resilience should be assessed, and that planting strategies should mimic the present day natural patchy distribution of Polylepis woodlands.

Supervisors: Dr. William D. Gosling , Dr. Angela Coe (both The Open University), and Steve Brooks (Natural History Museum).

Examined by: Prof. Henry Hoogheimstra (University of Amsterdam), and Prof. Bob Spicer (The Open University).

To borrow a copy from The Open University Library click here.

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PCRG January

February 12, 2014
WDG

January 2014 has been pretty mad for me but included presenting a poster at the Quaternary Research Association annual meeting, and taking on the role of chair of the British Ecological Society Eduaction, Training and Careers Committee“.

Tardigrade egg found in Ghanaian pollen trap by Adele

Tardigrade egg found in Ghanaian pollen trap by Adele

Here is a summary of what other people have been up to:

  • Lottie Miller: submission and approval of thesis corrections (hooray), working on British Ecological Society grant application.
  • Hayley Keen: is finishing up lab work (macro charcoal – done, XRF – done, wood macrofossils – thin sectioned, awaiting identification, pollen – just 4 more samples!); and dealing with minor review revisions to first submitted paper (hooray).
  • Frazer Bird: finished the data collection for two Ecuadorian lakes (Banos and Pindo) and will hopefully begin to write up this data soon; attended the NERC stats course (very useful; would advise everyone to try and get on it).
  • Nick Loughlin: has split and logged the sediment cores recovered from Lake Huila (Ecuador) during recent fieldwork, and begun preparing the samples for pollen.
  • Adele Julier: has been preparing pollen trap samples from Ghana and  learning tropical pollen.
  • Emily Sear: has mostly been on holiday and we are still waiting for the post card! She has also been working at getting results that make sense from the MS2.
  • Phil Jardine:   has been oxidising spores to see what it does to the chemistry, generating FTIR data with the oxidised samples and starting the numerical analysis, and editing film footage from the 2013 Ghana trip.
  • Encarni Montoya: has been doing pollen lab and analysing pollen from Baños, and comparing the midges trends from Pindo and Baños with Frazer.
  • Wes Fraser: Reported back to Royal Society on finding from research grant – paper containing exciting results to follow in next couple of months.
Some pollen from Adele's pollen traps in Ghana

Some pollen from Adele’s pollen traps in Ghana

We have also had 4 papers published with 2014 dates on them:

  • Cárdenas, M.L., Gosling, W.D., Pennington, R.T., Poole, I., Sherlock, S.C. & Mothes, P. (2014) Forests of the tropical eastern Andean flank during the middle Pleistocene. Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology, 393: 76-89. doi: 10.1016/j.palaeo.2013.10.009
  • Fraser, W.T., Watson, J.S., Sephton, M.A., Lomax, B.H., Harrington, G., Gosling, W.D. & Self, S. (2014) Changes in spore chemistry and appearance with increasing maturity. Review of Palaeobotany and Palynology, 201, 41-46. doi:10.1016/j.revpalbo.2013.11.001
  • Miller, C.S. & Gosling, W.D. (2014) Quaternary forest associations in lowland tropical West Africa. Quaternary Science Reviews, 84, 7-25. doi: 10.1016/j.quascirev.2013.10.027
  • Sayer, E.J., Featherstone, H.C. & Gosling, W.D. (2014) Sex & Bugs & Rock n Roll: getting creative about public engagement. Trends in Ecology & Evolution, 29, 65-67. doi: 10.1016/j.tree.2013.12.008
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