Cuesta, F., Llambi, L.D., Huggel, C., Drenkhan, F., Gosling, W.D., Muriel, P., Jaramillo, R. & Tovar, C. (2019) New land in the Neotropics: a review of biotic community, ecosystem, and landscape transformations in the face of climate and glacier change. Regional Environmental Change. DOI: 10.1007/s10113-019-01499-3
Over the last two weeks I have been giving my lectures at the VU Amsterdam “Scientific Methods in Archaeology” bachelor program. In my lectures we think about how to detect past environmental change with particular reference to tracking past human activities. As part of our exploration of past human-environment-climate interactions each student is asked to choose a scientific article, summerise it, and we then discuss it in class. The three papers sected this year covered the Neolithic of the Netherlands (Weijdema et al., 2011), a overview of Mediterranean and north African cultural adaptations to drough events during the Holocene (Mercuri et al., 2011), and an exploration of the role of humans in mega-faunal extinctions in South America (Villavicencio et al., 2015). All papers provided interesting points of discussion and an opportunity to think about different aspects of how we investigate past environmental and societal change.
The 2018 edition of the University of Amsterdam masters course “Environments Through Time” is now up and running. The course sits at the interface between ecology, physical geography and archaeology and seeks to provide students with a better understanding of how long-term (>100’s years) datasets can provide insights in to past environmental change.
In the first week of the course the students had to present their ‘favourite’ paper in just three (3) minutes! Quite a challenge and lots of fun. This years selection of papers themed around:
mega-fauna extinctions (Bakker et al., 2016; Gill et al., 2009; van der Kaars et al., 2017),
impacts of human land use practices (Bitusik et al., 2018; Carson et al., 2014; Chepstow-Lusty et al., 2009; Gauthier et al., 2010; Tisdall et al., 2018), and
climatic drivers of vegetation change (Haug et al., 2001; Tierney et al., 2017; Tudhope et al., 2001).
For full list of papers presented see below.
In the second and third weeks (now ongoing) students get to deconstruct published chronologies and conduct time series analsis of multi-proxy datasets. Data for these excercises is frequently is extracted from databases such as Neotoma, Pangea, NOAA – paleoclimatology datasets database and the Global Charcoal Database – which shows the importance of these open access databases for developing effective research led eductation, as well as pushing forward to frontiers of research.
I would like to publicize the current vacancy for a Full or Associate Professor within the “Earth & Climate” cluster at the VU Amsterdam. Having worked in Amsterdam now for just over two years I really enjoy living in the Netherlands, and find the academic environment very stimulating. There are strong links between the VU Amsterdam and the University of Amsterdam (where I am based).
The VU Amsterdam are looking for someone with a strong track record in palaeoclimate and/or landscape modelling with a focus on Quaternary timescales. I am excited to see this vacancy and I am sure that there would be many opportunities to develop links with the Research Group of Palaeoecology & Landscape Ecology which I head up.
For full details on the vacancy click hereclosing date 1 November 2016.
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
When addressing climate change the focus often is on temperature. However precipitation is a climate variable that is at least as important, but much more difficult to assess. This mini symposium will address several aspects of the changes in the precipitation climate. William Gosling shows how climates in the far past can be reconstructed using proxies. One of these proxies, biomarkers, will be discussed by Susanna Mölkänen, who uses them to reconstruct altitudinal gradients. John van Boxel discusses 20th century climate change in the Netherlands focussing on changes in precipitation extremes. The models that are used to study climate change are the topic of the presentation by Geert Lenderink from KNMI. Some of these models were also used by Emma Daniels (WUR) to study the effect of urbanisation on precipitation in the Netherlands. For anyone involved in climate change and precipitation this should be an interesting afternoon.