Amazonian coring isn’t boring

February 2, 2018
WDG

By Seringe Huisman (MSc Biological Sciences, Institute for Biodiversity & Ecosystem DynamicsUniversity of Amsterdam)

Hello all! You might have been wondering if I died in the middle of Amazonian nowhere, since I haven’t come back to writing a blog after we left for fieldwork in July. Given we were in an Amazonian region full of venomous snakes that could have been the case, but the good news is I just didn’t get around writing it because I got carried away by the findings of my project! We actually had a very successful field trip – apart from some minor issues like the lake swallowing equipment, sinking waist-high into the mud each step of our 7 hour long ‘trail’ to the lakes, and almost not getting my precious samples through airport security.

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Job: Post-doctoral researcher in Palaeoecology

November 30, 2017
cmcmicha

Job: Post-doctoral researcher in Neotropical Palaeoecology
Location: Institute for Biodiversity & Ecosystem Dynamics, University of Amsterdam
Duration: 3 years
Deadline for applications: 15 January 2018

We are seeking to recruit a Neotropical palaeoecologist to join the recently funded “The past peoples of Amazonia: Assessing ecological legacies” project (PI Dr. Crystal McMichael, funding NWO, based within the Department of Ecosystem & Landscape Dynamics). The project aims to reconstruct cultural histories from lake sediments in northwestern Amazonia, and link past human activities with modern ecological observations. The project involves analyzing microfossils (including pollen, phytoliths, and charcoal), and the development of a transfer function that estimates past human impacts in tropical forest systems.

We are particularly looking for a candidate with  expertise and experience, in:

  • Fieldwork in remote areas.
  • Neotropical pollen.
  • Quantitative analysis, including familiarity with R and Geographical Information Systems.
  • Academic publication.

For more details and how to apply click here.

Enhancing fieldwork learning

August 22, 2016
WDG

cropped-banner5Enhancing Fieldwork Learning
Showcase 2016
University of Reading, Whiteknights Campus
12-13th September 2016

Sign up to attend this years showcase which will include:

  • BES-logo-general

    Supported by the British Ecological Society.

    Nocturnal camera trapping

  • Underwater camera work
  • Field microscopy
  • Drones in teaching and research.
  • Virtual fieldwork
  • Using e-books as lab notes
  • Linking to Citizen Science

Click here to sign up.

Tropical Botany in Belize: Part 2 – Las Cuevas

April 1, 2015
nicholasloughlin

Tropical Botany in Belize

By Nick Loughlin

Las Cueavs Forest Reseach Station (Photograph by Anna Turbelin)

Figure 1: Las Cueavs Forest Reseach Station (Photograph by Anna Turbelin)

As mentioned in my last post I have recently returned from a 2 week field course in tropical botany run by the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh (RBGE) in conjunction with their MSc course on the ‘Biodiversity and Taxonomy of Plants’. The field course allowed for 10 NERC funded PhD students in relevant fields to accompany the MSc students out to Belize to learn a host of valuable skills in tropical botany and ecology.

To find out what we did read on…

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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

 

Teaching in the field: Foundations, feedback and fun

September 16, 2014
WDG

My final teaching job for The Open University was to help deliver the “Sedimentary Rocks & Fossils in the Field” section of the Level 2 Practical Science module (SXG288) offered by the Science Faculty. I have been involved in all three presentations of this section of the SXG288 module, which will now cease to be offered, and a number of other Earth and environmental science residential schools over the last 9 years.

Showing students the rocksHaving the opportunity to engage directly with students and enthuse them face-to-face about the subject I specialise in is a privilege I have gained a lot from. Furthermore, my over-riding impression from the students I have taught is that they feel they benefit greatly from the opportunity to explore first hand the concepts and subjects which they have previously studied in books and online. Based on my experiences on “Sedimentary Rocks and Fossils”, and other modules as both a tutor and a student, I am convinced that to effectively teach geological, geographical, environmental and ecological subjects effectively an element of field-based teaching is required.

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Past environmental change in the Amazon basin – AGU video

September 8, 2014
WDG

Hayley Keen’s video “Past environmental change in the Amazon basin” has been shortlisted for the American Geophysical Union (AGU) student video prize. Please watch and like Hayley’s video; top “Liked” videos will win entry to the AGU 2014 Fall meeting.

View all the videos on the AGU YouTube channel.

Fieldwork in Ecuador 2013

December 13, 2013
WDG

Nick and Will with Carman (director of the Pindo Mirador biological station)

Nick and Will with Carman (director of the Pindo Mirador biological station)

Three members of the PCRG (William Gosling, Encarni Montoya and Nick Loughlin) visited Ecuador (November-December 2013) to develop collaborations with Ecuadorian institutions, recover more lake sediments, and find new potential sites for projects. Below are some photos from:

  1. Lake Pindo, 
  2. Lake Huila, and
  3. Lake Erazo.

Full reports on specific aspects of the fieldwork to follow.

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Introducing Adele Julier: New PCRG PhD researcher

October 14, 2013
adelecmj

Adele Julier

Adele Julier and a Malvaceae

Hello! I’m Adele and I started my PhD about a week ago. It’s been a little intense but I can almost find the lab without a map now, so it is probably time to introduce myself.

I’ll be studying pollen-vegetation relationships in Ghana, as part of the NERC funded project500,000 years of solar irradiance, climate and vegetation changes’. This means I’ll be using pollen traps to figure out how pollen outputs vary between (and sometimes within) different vegetation types in Ghana. I will also be trying my hand at chemotaxonomy and video making. I’m heading out to Ghana (along with Phil Jardine) in just over a week to do my first lot of field work which will involve seeing the plots, collecting existing traps, replacing them with new ones, and setting up some new sites. I’m very excited.

My background is broadly botanical; I did a BA at Magdalene College, Cambridge in Natural Sciences specialising in Plant Science and then an MSc in Biodiversity and Taxonomy of Plants at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Edinburgh.

Here’s a picture of me holding the biggest Malvaceae flower I’d ever seen and being incredibly happy about that.

To find out more about me visit my blog: Plants in real life

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