University of Amsterdam Toga!

December 1, 2022
WDG

Yesterday I picked up my Professorial Toga from Togamakerij Rhebergen on the Amsteldijk in Amsterdam. For me it was quite a moment as this item symbolizes so much work over so many years, and is thanks to the help, support and training of so many people. I am looking forward to my Oratie (inaugural lecture) on the 22 December and celebrating further with friends and family. I hope that you will agree that the hard work was worth it to have the privilege to wear this gown, and personal thanks to Helen Sahin of Togamakerij Rhebergen for making such a beautiful item of clothing for me!

Mapping Ancient Africa: Seminar 8

November 21, 2022
WDG

I am pleased to announce that the eighth online Mapping Ancient Africa seminar will take place on 15 December 2022 (17:00-18:00 CET)

Speaker: Chantal Kabonyi (University of Bukavu)
Title: Les trois derniers millénaires d’histoire environnementale autour du lac Kivu: De la dorsale congolaise à la dorsale congo-Nil [The last three millennia of environmental history around Lake Kivu: From the Congolese ridge to the Congo-Nile ridge]

NOTE: This will be a duel language presentation with the presentation given in French and slides containing English text.

The seminar will be delivered via Zoom. The link for the seminar can be obtained from the MAA Slack channel or by contacting the chair of this seminar Manu Chevalier. If you want to know more about the Mapping Ancient Africa project visit our web pages and please do not hesitate to get in contact if you want to get involved.

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Mapping Ancient Africa: Video of seminar 7

November 11, 2022
WDG

The seventh Mapping Ancient Africa online seminar took place on Thursday 10 November 2022. The seminar was delivered by Manu Chevalier (University of Bonn) and showcased his new publication entitled: An introduction to the Climate REconstruction SofTware (CREST) model.

Details of this seminar can be found here. You can find more Mapping Ancient Africa seminar videos on the “Ecology of the Past” YouTube channel.

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Reference

  • Chevalier, M. (2022) crestr: an R package to perform probabilistic climate reconstructions from palaeoecological datasets. Climate of the Past 18, 821-844. DOI: 10.5194/cp-18-821-2022
  • crestr An R package to perform probabilistic palaeoclimate reconstructions from palaeoecological datasets https://mchevalier2.github.io/crestr/

Inaugural lecture: The ecology of the past

November 9, 2022
WDG

William D. Gosling ©KIRSTENVANSANTEN

I am delighted to announce that the inaugural lecture for my becoming Professor of Palaeoecology & Biogeography will take place at the Aula (Lutherse kerk) of the University of Amsterdam on the 22 December 2022 (16:30). If you would like to attend this event please let me know (via email) before 1 December 2022 so that an appropriate level of catering can be organized.

For further details visit the university web site here.

For my contact details visit my university web page here.

New insights from a Poaceae pollen morphological study in the Amazon

November 8, 2022
WDG

Open access:

Wei, C., Jardine, P.E., Gosling, W.D. & Hoorn, C. (2023) Is Poaceae pollen size a useful proxy in palaeoecological studies? New insights from a Poaceae pollen morphological study in the Amazon. Review of Palaeobotany and Palynology 308, 104790. DOI: 10.1016/j.revpalbo.2022.104790

Mapping Ancient Africa: Seminar 7

October 26, 2022
WDG

I am pleased to announce that the seventh online Mapping Ancient Africa seminar will take place on 10 November 2022 (17:00-18:00 CET – please note change of clocks from summer time) 

The seminar will be delivered via Zoom. The link for the seminar can be obtained from the MAA Slack channel or by contacting the chair of this seminar William Gosling. If you want to know more about the Mapping Ancient Africa project visit our web pages and please do not hesitate to get in contact if you want to get involved.

INQUAlogo

Mapping Ancient Africa: INQUA congress support

October 4, 2022
WDG

The Mapping Ancient Africa (MAA) project is offering five bursaries to help African based and/or early career researchers^ attend the up coming INQUA Rome congress. Each bursary will around Euro 1000 and should be used towards covering the cost of registration, accommodation and/or travel for the congress.

Application criteria:

  • Abstract submitted to INQUA Rome congress either to the Mapping Ancient Africa session, or to another session on a related topic (Deadline 1 November 2022).
  • Commitment to contributing an article for consideration to be published in the proposed MAA special issue of Quaternary International; for frame of references of the MAA project click here.

To apply submit the following information via emails to William Gosling as the corresponding Principle Investigator of the project. Applications should be clearly marked MAA-Application-YourName in the subject line:

  • Evidence of submission of an abstract to the INQUA Rome congress (copy of confirmation email and abstract).
  • Letter of motivation, including fit of the proposed article to the MAA aims and goals and statement of commitment to submit an article for consideration to be published in the Mapping Ancient Africa special issue of Quaternary International^^ (not more than 1 page)
  • Short academic CV, including highlight of up to 5 published articles indicating the scientific importance and your role in the publication (not more than 2 pages).

In the event of more applications being received than funding is available awards will be made by the MAA team (PIs and co-PIs) on the basis of the fit of the research to the MAA aims and goals. To receive funding receipts for all the expenses incurred will need to be provided (following INQUA regulations).

Deadline for application: 7 November 2022

Announcement of funding: 14 November 2022

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^ following definition for Early Career Researchers (ECR) or Developing Country Researchers (DCR) provided by INQUA.

^^ please note that no guarantee of final publication is given or implied by this commitment. All submitted manuscripts will be subject to the usual rigorous peer review procedures for the journal.

Mapping Ancient Africa: Seminar 6 (take 2)

September 30, 2022
WDG

Following the postponement of our previous seminar I am pleased to announce the next Mapping Ancient Africa (MAA) seminar (the new number 6 in the series) will take place on Thursday 6 October at 17:00 (CEST).

  • Speaker: Verena Foerster (Universität zu Köln)
  • Title: Pleistocene climate variability in eastern Africa influenced hominin evolution
  • Related publication: Foerster, V., Asrat, A., Bronk Ramsey, C., Brown, E.T., Chapot, M.S., Deino, A., Duesing, W., Grove, M., Hahn, A., Junginger, A., Kaboth-Bahr, S., Lane, C.S., Opitz, S., Noren, A., Roberts, H.M., Stockhecke, M., Tiedemann, R., Vidal, C.M., Vogelsang, R., Cohen, A.S., Lamb, H.F., Schaebitz, F. & Trauth, M.H. (2022) Pleistocene climate variability in eastern Africa influenced hominin evolution. Nature Geoscience. DOI: 10.1038/s41561-022-01032-y

The seminar will be delivered via Zoom. The link for the seminar can be obtained from the MAA Slack channel or by contacting the chair of this seminar Stefanie Kaboth-Bahr. If you want to know more about the Mapping Ancient Africa project visit our web pages and please do not hesitate to get in contact if you want to get involved.

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From new methods to new insights: Advancing palaeoecology with @PalaeoNick

September 21, 2022
WDG

During the delivery of this years BSc Palaeoeclogy course at the University of Amsterdam (UvA) I discussed with a number of students about the nature and purpose of understanding the ecology of the past. This lead me to highlighting the research of Nick Loughlin (@PalaeoNick) from his PhD at The Open University and the subsequent work that he has done. I though it might be interesting to also share this here…

Nick recovers a sediment core for his PhD project.
Nick Loughlin during his PhD field work in Ecuador

Nick’s study sought to understand better the ecological history of the biodiverse eastern Andean flank in Ecuador. To achieve this he went into the field and recovered sediments from a lake and a sedimentary section exposed by a road cutting. He analysed the sediments to reveal vegetation change (pollen analysis), fire histories (charcoal analysis), and past animals in the landscape (non-pollen palynomorphs, or NPPs). To extract extra ecological information from his samples he developed the methodological approach for examining NPPs in a tropical setting (Loughlin et al. 2018a). He then combined all the different palaeoecological approaches to reveal the drivers of vegetation change during the last glacial period (in the absence of humans; Loughlin et al. 2018b), and during the last 1000 years (when indigenous and European human populations radically altered the landscape; Loughlin et al. 2018c). The insights gained from Nicks research provided empirical evidence of how humans have been modifying this biodiversity hotspot on the timescales relevant to the lifecycles of tropical trees. These findings and ideas were collated in his PhD Thesis at The Open University which was supervised by Encarni Montoya, Angela Coe and myself (Loughlin, 2018a). Subsequently, Nick has been working to broaden the impact of his work and to communicate his findings to the broader scientific and conservation community. This has lead to two new publications focused on understanding baseline ecological function and conservation implications (Loughlin et al. 2022, Nogué et al. 2022).

Lake Huila
Evidence of past ecological change recovered from Lake Huila (Ecuador) revealed how past peoples had modified the landscape of the eastern Andean biodiversity hotspot.

The arch of research carried out by Nick, I think, really demonstrates the important of understanding the ecology of the past – without his detailed investigation of microfossils we could not have seen the impacts of indigenous communities on the past Andean landscape, or identify the consequences of the European depopulation; or been able to estimate the timescales of the ecological change!

References

Continue Reading

Palaeoecology course 2022 goes archaeology…

September 16, 2022
WDG

As part of this years BSc Palaeoecology course at the University of Amsterdam we visited the Department of Archaeology. Organised by Anja Fischer we visited the human bone collection, the animal bone collection and the archaeobotany section. Amazing collections and lots of opportunities for cross faculty projects and teaching.

In addition to explaining the physical reference collections Anja also explained how she has been developing data mining techniques to allow information to be synthesised from the thousands of archaeological reports across the Netherlands.

She used this approach to make new discoveries about the role of urban farming and ruralisation in Dutch history. Her findings formed a report for the Dutch national heritage organisation (Rijksdienst voor het Cultureel Erfgoed) which can be downloaded for free (in English).

Fischer, A., van Londen, H., Blonk, A., Visser, R.M. & Renes, J. (2021) Urban Farming and Ruralisation in The Netherlands (1250-1850): Unravelling farming practice and the use of (open) space by synthesising archaeological reports using text mining. Nederlandse Archeologische Rapporten 68. Download free here.

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