Volcanic, climatic and human ecosystem modification

My second pair articles from Vegetation History & Archaeobotany that I would like to highlight look at the impacts of volcanoes and climate on vegetation change. Specifically these explore:

For more detailed thoughts on these papers read on…

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Vegetation History & Archaeobotany

vhaI am delighted to report that I have recently been appointed as an Associate Editor for the journal Vegetation History & Archaeobotany (VHA). The journals scope is global and covers Quaternary environmental and climatic change, with a specific focus on the Holocene and pre-historic human impacts on landscapes; often linking palaeoecological and archaeological research. My remit with VHA is to provide expertise on tropical, and in particular South American, studies. Recent articles in VHA with a South American focus include:

I hope that over the next few years we can publish some more exciting articles on the tropics in VHA and I would therefore like to encourage you to submit interesting high quality original research, reviews, or short articles for our consideration.

To find out more about the journal and submit an article click here.

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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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In the news

Ancient ‘massacre’ unearthed near Lake Turkana, Kenya, by Anon. BBC News: Africa

Bronze Age houses uncovered in Cambridgeshire are Britain’s ‘Pompeii’ , by Anon. BBC News: Cambridgeshire

Scientists weigh in on ‘giraffe relative’ fossil by Helen Briggs. BBC News: Science & Environment

Sex with Neanderthals may be the cause of modern allergies, studies suggest by Doug Bolton. Independent: Science

Scientific articles

Patterson, R.T., Huckerby, G., Kelly, T.J., Swindles, G.T. & Nasser, N.A. (2015) Hydroecology of Amazonian lacustrine Arcellinida (testate amoebae): A case study from Lake Quistococha, Peru. European Journal of Protistology 51, 460-469. DOI: 10.1016/j.ejop.2015.06.009

Pitulko, V.V., Tikhonov, A.N., Pavlova, E.Y., Nikolskiy, P.A., Kuper, K.E. & Polozov, R.N. (2016) Early human presence in the Arctic: Evidence from 45,000-year-old mammoth remains. Science 351, 260-263. DOI: 10.1126/science.aad0554

Moseley, G.E., Edwards, R.L., Wendt, K.A., Cheng, H., Dublyansky, Y., Lu, Y., Boch, R. & Spotl, C. (2016) Reconciliation of the Devils Hole climate record with orbital forcing. Science 351, 165-168. DOI: 10.1126/science.aad4132

 

Bakker, E.S., Gill, J.L., Johnson, C.N., Vera, F.W.M., Sandom, C.J., Asner, G.P. & Svenning, J. (2015) Combining paleo-data and modern exclosure experiments to assess the impact of megafauna extinctions on woody vegetation. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1502545112

Bakker, E.S., Pagès, J.F., Arthur, R. & Alcoverro, T. (2015) Assessing the role of large herbivores in the structuring and functioning of freshwater and marine angiosperm ecosystems. Ecography DOI:10.1111/ecog.01651

Dillehay, T.D., Ocampo, C., Saavedra, J., Sawakuchi, A.O., Vega, R.M., Pino, M., Collins, M.B., Scott Cummings, L., Arregui, I., Villagran, X.S., Hartmann, G.A., Mella, M., Gonzalez, A. & Dix, G. (2015) New Archaeological Evidence for an Early Human Presence at Monte Verde, Chile. PLoS ONE 10, e0141923. DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0141923

Göldel, B., Kissling, W.D. & Svenning, J. (2015) Geographical variation and environmental correlates of functional trait distributions in palms (Arecaceae) across the New World. Botanical Journal of the Linnean Society. DOI: 10.1111/boj.12349

Pardi, M.I. & Smith, F.A. (2015) Biotic responses of canids to the terminal Pleistocene megafauna extinction. Ecography.  DOI: 10.1111/ecog.01596

Roy, N., Woollett, J. & Bhiry, N. (2015) Paleoecological perspectives on landscape history and anthropogenic impacts at Uivak Point, Labrador, since AD 1400. The Holocene 25, 1742-1755. DOI: 10.1177/0959683615591350

African ecology in context

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I am delighted to be organizing a focus session at the first AfQUA meeting. The session seeks to bring together ecologists and palaeoecologists working in Africa. If you are interested in getting involved please contact me (William Gosling) directly. For further information on the conference visit the AfQUA website or twitter feed.

Focus session 1: African ecology in context
The African continent spans over 80 degrees of latitude, nearly 6000 m of altitude and around 30 million km2 consequently it contains a vast array of unique ecosystems. Many of the African ecosystems are under direct pressure from human activity and are threatened by on-going and projected climate change. However, management and conservation of the modern African ecosystems is hampered by a paucity of data on their natural history. Studies of observations of ecosystems spanning >30 years are rare so we are heavily reliant on examination of the fossil record to place modern ecology in a long-term (>50 year) context. Information on past ecosystems can be extracted through the examination of a range of biological indicators (e.g. pollen, carbon isotopes, charcoal) found within marine and lake sediments. However, interpretation of the sediments and the proxies they contain with the ecosystems observed today is challenging because of timescale and interpretation issues. The aim of this session is to bring together modern ecologists and paleo-ecologists working in Africa to present the state-of-the-art understanding of ecosystems past and present, and explore how we can improve understanding of timescales and proxy interpretation to place these threatened ecosystems in context.