When I first heard about this class in Peru, I had no idea that I was going to experience so much in such a short period. Our goal was to visit two lakes in Peru and raise sediment cores for paleoecology. The first lake that we went to was Laguna Huayabamba, which sits at about 3250 m elevation in the La Libertad region of the Peruvian Andes.
However, getting to this lake was no easy task. Before the hike even started, we had to obtain the necessary permits and permission from the local people. After several days of visiting different town officials and waiting for approval, we could set out on our adventure.
This time you are reading a message from a non-expert in paleoecology. My name is Masha and I will spend the next two years on a very exciting postdoctoral fellowship funded by NWO (Dutch National Science Foundation) under their Rubicon scheme in close collaboration with William Gosling (University of Amsterdam).
I am glad to say that after almost two months out of the office running around with 8 bags of equipment, Frazer and I have finished our tour of the Americas. As the work has been so diverse, we would like to split our comments and impressions into two different posts, we hope you enjoy them!
View Schuetze’s work on recreating Mauritius in 3D on Vimeo
I contributed some new work on human-landscape interaction in the central Andes, entitled: “Ecosystem service provision sets the pace for pre-Columbian Andean societal development”. It was very exciting to get feedback from such an esteemed audience on this new work. The days talks concluded with the IBED seminar given by Mark Bush (Florida Institute of Technology) which countinued the South American human-environment theme but we moved to the lowlands for “Amazonia in 1491: A paleoecological perspective”. Mark’s talk built on his recent work exmining the extent of human impact on Amazonia (references 1-3 below) which has cautioned against assuming widespread and intensive human impact within Amazonia prior to the arrival of Europeans.
Following the seminars we had drinks at the institute and an excellent meal in Amsterdam. Thanks again to Henry and all those at IBED who hosted a high class and scientifically stimulating meeting.
I am delighted to report that Dr Encarnacion Montoya Romo (currently of the Botanical Institute of Barcelona) has been awarded a NERC Fellowship to join the PCRG. The project is entitled “Evaluation of tropical forests sensitivity to past climate change” (FORSENS) and will examine environmental change at four study sites from different regions of the Neotropics: 1) Khomer Kotcha (Bolivia; 17oS, 4100 m above sea level [asl]) [1-3], 2) Consuelo (Peru, 13oS; 1400 m asl) [4-5], 3) Banos (Ecuador; 0oS, 4000 m asl), and 4) a new lowland site from Columbia/Ecuador to be collected during field work during the project.