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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Open access online:

Flantua, S.G.A., Hooghiemstra, H., Grimm, E.C., Behling, H., Bush, M.B., González-Arango, C., Gosling, W.D., Ledru, M., Lozano-García, S., Maldonado, A., Prieto, A.R., Rull, V. & Van Boxel, J.H. Updated site compilation of the Latin American Pollen Database. Review of Palaeobotany and Palynology 223, 104-115. DOI: 10.1016/j.revpalbo.2015.09.008

JOB: PhD candidate in Palaeoecology & Landscape Ecology

UvAInstitute for Biodiversity & Ecosystem Dynamics
Faculty of Science

University of Amsterdam

Characterization of Neotropical ecosystems by their modern pollen spectra and organic chemical composition

  • Develop skills in pollen identification, pollen chemical characterization, and the analysis of organic biomarkers.
  • Examine ecological variation across an altitudinal gradient of nearly 4000 meters on the tropical western Andean flank.
  • Improve understanding of how ecosystems function in a biodiversity hotspot, and how they might be identified in the fossil record.

Mashpi (25)The considerable biodiversity of Neotropical ecosystems is under pressure from projected climate change and human activity. Modern ecosystems can be characterized by their pollen rain and organic chemistry, which can in turn provide information about ecosystem health and functioning. However, little is known about how pollen assemblage and chemical composition (of pollen and plants) vary along environmental gradients. Altitudinal transects provide an opportunity to study a range of environments and ecosystems with a relatively small geographic area. By improving our understanding of modern ecosystems we can improve our interpretation of fossil records, and consequently better understand how modern ecosystems came into being.

The main objectives of this PhD project are to:

  1. Generate the first modern pollen assemblage and chemical data set for the Neotropics,
  2. Characterize the landscape-scale variation in pollen assemblage and chemistry composition, and
  3. Identify the key environmental drivers that determines pollen assemblage and chemistry composition variation.

Publication date: 27 July 2015
Closing date: 18 September 2015
Level of education: University (Masters)
Hours: 38 hours per week
Salary indication: €2,125 to €2,717 gross per month
Vacancy number: 15-286

Applications should be emailed to application-science@uva.nl, with in the subject line the position you are applying for and vacancy number (15-286). Please make sure all your material is attached in only one pdf. Applications should include a detailed CV including educational experiences, a list of research projects and/or publications, a letter of motivation, relevant work experience, and the names and contact addresses of two academic referees from whom a reference for the candidate can be obtained.

For more details, including information on how to apply, click here (UvA), or here (via academic transfer).

For further information visit the Palaeoecology & Landscape Ecology web pages, or contact Dr. William D. Gosling  directly.

An interview with Adele Julier

Following on from Wes Fraser’s insightful and revealing interview, cactus-hugger Adele Julier tells us about her academic background and her role on the Lake Bosumtwi pollen chemistry project.

 

For more videos check out the “Ecology of the past” YouTube channel.

Gosling PhD thesis 2004

Gosling, W.D. (2004) Characterisation of Amazonian forest and savannah ecosystems by their modern pollen spectra.  PhD Thesis, Department of Geography, University of Leicester.

PhD-wdg

WDG Bolivia (2002)

Abstract:

Controversy surrounds the Quaternary palaeoenvironmental history of Amazonia. It is unclear whether moist evergreen forest, savannah or seasonally dry forest dominated the Amazon basin at the last glacial maximum (c. 21,000 years B.P.). In part the uncertainty surrounding the palaeoenvironmental history of Amazonia stems from a poor understanding of the ecological significance of the fossil pollen records from the region. In order to improve interpretations of the fossil pollen record it is essential to better understand the nature of the pollen rain produced by modern ecosystems.

In this thesis, three Neotropical ecosystems equivalent to those alluded to above were characterised by their modern pollen rain. This was achieved by examining samples collected in artificial pollen traps located within permanent (50 x 200 m) vegetation plots in the Noel Kempff Mercado National Park area, Bolivia. In each plot 10 traps were sampled for one field season (September 1998 to September 1999, or September 2000 to September 2001) and 5 traps were sampled from two additional field seasons (between 1998 and 2001). Pollen counts of at least 100 grains were made for each trap. In total 318 pollen taxa were distinguished, of which 116 were identified. The characteristic pollen from each of the three ecosystems were determined through a series of steps: spatial and temporal variations were explored using Spearman’s Rank correlations, the distinctive taxa of each ecosystem were identified using Principal Components Analyses (PCA), and the representativity of the pollen for each ecosystem was examined by comparing pollen and vegetation abundances. These analyses revealed a small number of taxa that can be used to characterize these ecosystems. Further PCA showed that it is possible to differentiate between the ecosystems by assessing the relative proportions of Didymopanax, Alchornea, Anadenanthera, Melastomataceae/Combretaceae, Moraceae/Urticaceae, Myrtaceae, Palmae, Pteropsidia (trilete), Poaceae and Solanum. These findings mean that it is now possible to detect these ecosystems in the fossil pollen record and consequently further information regarding the nature of the vegetation change in the Amazon basin can be gained.

Supervisors: Dr. Francis Mayle (University of Leicester, now at University of Reading) and Dr. Nicholas Tate (University of Leicester)

Examined by: Prof. Henry Lamb (University of Aberystwyth) and Prof. Andrew Millington (University of Leicester, now at Texas A & M), April 2004.

To borrow a copy from University of Leicester Library search for my name or thesis title here (item ID 7507349613), or download directly: Volume 1, Volume 2, and CD.

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PCRG publications 2013

Gosling, W.D., Miller, C.S. & Livingstone, D.A. (2013) Atlas of the tropical West African pollen flora. Review of Palaeobotany and Palynology, 199, 1-135

Gosling, W.D. & Williams, J.J. (2013) Ecosystem service provision sets the pace for pre-Hispanic societal development in the central Andes. The Holocene, 23, 1619-1624

Miller, C.S., Leroy, S.a.G., Izon, G., Lahijani, H.a.K., Marret, F., Cundy, A.B. & Teasdale, P.A. (2013) Palynology: A tool to identify abrupt events? An example from Chabahar Bay, southern Iran. Marine Geology, 337, 195-201

Roucoux, K.H., Lawson, I.T., Jones, T.D., Baker, T.R., Coronado, E.N.H., Gosling, W.D. & Lähteenoja, O. (2013) Vegetation development in an Amazonian peatland. Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology, 374, 242-255

Rull, V., Montoya, E., Nogué, S., Vegas-Vilarrúbia, T. & Safont, E. (2013) Ecological palaeoecology in the neotropical Gran Sabana region: Long-term records of vegetation dynamics as a basis for ecological hypothesis testing. Perspectives in Plant Ecology, Evolution and Systematics, 15, 338-359

PCRG PhD studentship opportunity

Funded PhD studentship opportunity, October 2014 start
Department of Environment, Earth & Ecosystems, The Open Univeristy
Central England NERC Training Alliance (CENTA)
Closing date for applications : 31/01/2014

Past tropical vegetation stability: forest-savannah dynamics in tropical West Africa

William D. Gosling & Phil Jardine

  • Maintain a modern pollen monitoring network in lowland tropical West Africa
  • Reconstruct past vegetation change from fossil pollen records
  • Identify signature of approaching tipping points
  • Field work in tropical Africa (Ghana)

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