Palynologische Kring: Spatial patterns in palaeoecology

March 18, 2019
WDG

Palynologische Kring: Spatial patterns in palaeoecology meeting
Date: Thursday 4 April
Location: Rijksdienst voor het Cultureel Erfgoed (RCE), Amersfoort

  • 13:30 – 14:00 Otto Brinkkemper (RCE): Spatial patterns in the Dutch archaeobotanical dataset
  • 14:00 – 14:30 Marjolein Gouw-Bouman (Utrecht University): Spatial patterns of the Dark Age reforestation

Break

  • 15:00 – 15:30 Thomas Giesecke (Utrecht University): Research and education of vegetation change in four dimensions – developments of the European Pollen Database in Neotoma
  • 15:30 – 16:00 Crystal McMichael (University of Amsterdam): Ancient human disturbances may be skewing our understanding of Amazonian ecology
Rijksdienst voor het Cultureel Erfgoed

Rijksdienst voor het Cultureel Erfgoed

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Human impact on forest cover in Europe during the last glaciation

February 27, 2019
riannevduinen

This is the first is a series of blog posts based on papers discussed at our “Amsterdam Palaeoecology Club” meetings. The APC meetings are organized to promote palaeoecological discussion and to help the scientific development of our MSc and BSc research students. At each meeting we discuss a paper and the progress of individual projects. Short summaries of the papers and discussions are then made by the student introducing the paper. First up is MSc researcher Rianne van Duinen with her thoughts on Kaplan et al. (2016).

Monkey on a stick

Rianne on field work in Twente during the 2017 edition of the BSc Palaeoecology course at University of Amsterdam

Human impact on forest cover in Europe during the last glaciation
By Rianne van Duinen
(currently studying for MSc Biological Sciences, Ecology & Evolution track at the University of Amsterdam)

We discussed the paper Large scale anthropogenic reduction of forest cover in Last Glacial Maximum Europe by Kaplan et al. (2016) which was found by the group to be super interesting and it incited a lot of discussion. The paper was mostly concerned with the anthropogenic influences and past vegetation of Europe. The main conclusion was that humans had a very big impact on forests during the last glacial period through the use of fire. The authors suggest that human actions are the explaining factor for the low amount of forests cover suggested by pollen records during the last glacial maximum (c. 21,000 years ago). The suggestion from Kaplan et al. that human modification of forest cover through fire during the glacial links with a recent study from Sevink et al. (2018) that suggests, based on pollen and charcoal data from the Netherlands, that human use of fire altered forest cover into the Holocene. In our discussion it was also noted that animals (mega-herbivores) were not really taken into account or discussed, even though animals probably had a big impact on the vegetation (e.g. see Bakker et al., 2016). Furthermore, another discussion point was the charcoal records that were used in the Kaplan et al. study, more specifically the number of cores. Kaplan et al. only used three cores to map out the effect of charcoal. It would be interesting to see what happens when more data from more cores is used. The Global Charcoal Database has a lot of data on European cores (c. 38% of the cores are from Europe) so there is a lot of potential for this.  All in all, the article by Kaplan et al. raised a lot of questions and opened up a nice discussion.

Reference

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Introducing Veerle Vink

April 23, 2018
WDG

Hiking though the jungle in Panama (San Lorenzo)

Hiking though the jungle in Panama (San Lorenzo)

Hi All!

My name is Veerle, and I am in my first year of the Master in Biological Sciences, Ecology & Evolution track, at the University of Amsterdam. I also completed my BSc Biology at the University of Amsterdam, specializing in Ecology and Global Change. One of my favorite courses during my BSc was Palaeoecology, which led to a BSc research project with William Gosling and Crystal McMichael on the farming history in the Netherlands. I really enjoyed this project and it made me even more interested in palaeoecology. This year I have gotten the amazing opportunity to do another project with Crystal McMichael…. including a field expedition together with Britte Heijink and Nina Witteveen to Panama and Colombia! This was an amazing experience with a lot of fun, mud, insect repellent and most of all really nice cores! I am super excited to tell you about my field experiences, so soon we will post another blog about that!

Collecting the soil

Collecting the soil

Now that we’re back in Amsterdam, I’m analyzing phytoliths from Gigante (Panama) to reconstruct the fire and vegetation history. I’m especially interested in past agriculture and forest management to see if there were humans present in the area and how they affected the vegetation. Hopefully I can show you some nice results about that in the future!

Cheers,

Veerle

Fields and feasts

July 28, 2017
WDG

If you have exciting new research on past ecological change similar to this please consider submitting it for consideration to be published in Vegetation History & Archaeobotany.

If you have exciting new research on past ecological change please consider submitting it to Vegetation History & Archaeobotany.

Two articles recently published on-line in the journal Vegetation History & Archaebotany (of which I am an Associate Editor) recently caught my attention.These explore:

For more detailed thoughts on these papers read on…

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Rubicon project to link fossil pollen with plant traits

July 20, 2017
WDG

Dear Ecology of the past blog readers,

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).

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Success for BSc project students

July 18, 2017
WDG

BSc students on the Palaeoecology course prior to undertaking a research project with us.

Many BSc students undertook our “Palaeoecology” course prior to choosing to do a research project with us.

This year 15 (fifteen!) bachelors students completed their research projects in palaeoecology based within the Department of Ecosystem & Landscape Dynamics at the University of Amsterdam. The students had a variety of backgrounds with the majority coming from the BSc Biology and the BSc Future Planet Studies programs.

Each project was set up to test a particular ecological or biogeographic hypothesis. Investigations included the exploration of the role of humans in modifying ecosystems in Amazon, the nature of the pre-farming landscape in the the Netherlands, and how to chemically identify fossil charcoal. In undertaking their projects individual students had the opportunity to variously develop skills in microscopy, spatial modelling, or analytical chemistry. The high quality of the data produced means that hopefully many of these data sets can be used in future scientific publications. Well done to all!

If you are interested in conducting a similar project (at any academic level) with us please do not hesitate to get in contact. For further details of ongoing research within the Department of Ecosystems & Landscape Dynamics visit our web pages by clicking here.

Biodiversity and the functioning of tropical forests

July 12, 2016
WDG

Biodiversity and the functioning of tropical forests
PhD defense University of Wageningen
Candidate: Masha T. van der Sande
Date: 06/07/2016

Watch Masha’s thesis defense on WUR TV (featuring W.D. Gosling as an opponent…)

WRUTVClick here to watch the video

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