A Study in Green

July 5, 2019
WDG

By Rachel Sales (Florida Institute of Technology, USA)

My bike is angry at me.

I’m rattling down an unpaved road in the Ecuadorian Amazon. The brakes screech at every turn, and the chain is close to falling off. Unsurprisingly, the rain is pouring, turning the road into a maze of puddles and mud. The road follows the Anzu River, and I can hear its roar off to my right.

I’m forcing a perfectly innocent bike to brave the Amazon because this road leads to the Herbario Amazónico of the Universidad Estatal Amazónica (ECUAMZ). ECUAMZ (an acronym for “Ecuador Amazon”) is the only herbarium in the Amazon, and contains a repository of plant specimens for preservation and help with field identifications. It was established by Dr. David Neill, a specialist in the Fabaceae (legume) family and world-renowned expert in tropical botany, and Dr. Mercedes Asanza, the coordinator of the herbarium. They have agreed to mentor me over the summer and teach me about tropical plants. The Herbario Amazónico, which contains over 17,000 vascular plant species, is the perfect place to learn.

The view from the top of the tower at Jatun Sacha.

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Chemotaxonomy of domesticated grasses: a pathway to understanding the origins of agriculture

June 7, 2019
WDG

Open access:

Jardine, P.E., Gosling, W.D., Lomax, B.H., Julier, A.C.M. & Fraser, W.T. (2019) Chemotaxonomy of domesticated grasses: a pathway to understanding the origins of agriculture. Journal of Micropalaeontology 38, 83-95. DOI: 10.5194/jm-38-83-2019

Quantitative model for geolocating pollen samples

March 19, 2019
ingehmvhaaften

Quantitative model for geolocating pollen samples

By Inge van Haaften (currently studying for MSc Biological Sciences, Ecology & Evolution track at the University of Amsterdam)

For this “Amsterdam Palaeoecology Club” (APC) meeting we did not discuss a paper, instead I presented my progress on my second research internship of my master’s on the geolocation of pollen samples under the supervision of dr. C. N. H. McMichael. The other students were asked to read the paper ‘Forensic palynology: Why do it and how it works’ by Mildenhall et al. (2006). This paper gives a review of the use of palynological analysis for criminal investigation, which ties in with my research.

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Variability in modern pollen rain from moist and wet tropical forest plots in Ghana, West Africa

October 19, 2018
WDG

Open access:

Julier, A.C.M., Jardine, P.E., Adu-Bredu, S., Coe, A.L., Fraser, W.T., Lomax, B.H., Malhi, Y., Moore, S. & Gosling, W.D. (2018) Variability in modern pollen rain from moist and wet tropical forest plots in Ghana, West Africa. Grana. DOI: 10.1080/00173134.2018.1510027

Palynologendagen 2018

October 10, 2018
WDG

I am delighted to be taking part in this years Palynologendagen (Palynology days) organised by the Palynologische Kring (Dutch Society for Palynology)

Location: Van Waddenplaat to the Drents Plateau
Date: 11-12 October 2018

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Job: Post-doctoral researcher in Palaeoecology

November 30, 2017
cmcmicha

Job: Post-doctoral researcher in Neotropical Palaeoecology
Location: Institute for Biodiversity & Ecosystem Dynamics, University of Amsterdam
Duration: 3 years
Deadline for applications: 15 January 2018

We are seeking to recruit a Neotropical palaeoecologist to join the recently funded “The past peoples of Amazonia: Assessing ecological legacies” project (PI Dr. Crystal McMichael, funding NWO, based within the Department of Ecosystem & Landscape Dynamics). The project aims to reconstruct cultural histories from lake sediments in northwestern Amazonia, and link past human activities with modern ecological observations. The project involves analyzing microfossils (including pollen, phytoliths, and charcoal), and the development of a transfer function that estimates past human impacts in tropical forest systems.

We are particularly looking for a candidate with  expertise and experience, in:

  • Fieldwork in remote areas.
  • Neotropical pollen.
  • Quantitative analysis, including familiarity with R and Geographical Information Systems.
  • Academic publication.

For more details and how to apply click here.

Ancient monsoons on the Roof of the World

August 21, 2017
WDG

Natasha Barbolini

Natasha Barbolini getting a free mud treatment after some heavy rain.

Recent findings of monsoonal activity in Asia as old as 45 million years raises the fascinating possibility that these Monsoons may have triggered a global shift from the warm ice-free Greenhouse world, to the bi-polar Icehouse conditions the Earth still experiences today. Increased erosion and weathering of the uplifted Tibetan Plateau and Himalayas is currently advocated as the primary trigger for the enigmatic pCO2 drawdown that led to global cooling and rapid growth of the Antarctic ice sheet.

I am Natasha Barbolini, a new postdoctoral researcher in the Department of Ecosystem & Landscape Dynamics. Hosted by Dr Carina Hoorn, I joined the University of Amsterdam working on the MAGIC research project: (Monsoons of Asia caused Greenhouse to Icehouse Cooling). This ERC-funded project is headed by Dr Guillaume Dupont-Nivet at the University of Potsdam, Germany.

Xining Basin

A playa lake in the Xining Basin, surrounded by Oligocene red beds.

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