Looking at a time capsule from Twente

May 29, 2019
WDG

Dobrochna wondering what kind
of pollen and phytoliths are hidden
it that piece of dirt (Krakenven, 2018)

Looking at a time capsule from Twente

By Dobrochna Delsen (currently studying for BSc Biology at the University of Amsterdam)

An unusual early morning.

It is 8:15. My train arrives at Science Park. After a ten-minute walk accompanied by other students I arrive at the university. After a short contemplation about whether I should take the elevator, I decide to take the stairs. The stairs are a bit exhausting, especially since the microscope room is at the top floor, but it gives me the necessary ‘exercise’ for the day. As I walk to the room at the end of the corridor I can see that the coat rack is still empty, except of the one lab coat that hangs there since the day my bachelors project started. I take out my student card and hold it against the door handle. The sound of the unlocking door gives me feeling of satisfaction and power. I step into the empty room with a feeling of superiority and go to my microscope where I will sit for the rest of the day.

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van Beek, R., Gouw-Bouman, M.T.I.J. & Bos, J.A.A. (2015) Mapping regional vegetation developments in Twente (the Netherlands) since the Late Glacial and evaluating contemporary settlement patterns. Netherlands Journal of Geosciences-Geologie En Mijnbouw 94, 229-255. doi: 10.1017/njg.2014.40

  • SUMMARY: Examination of archaeological and palaeoecological evidence from the Twente region of the Netherlands is used to produce maps and images of past landscapes. The artists reconstructions of landscape change are particularly amazing and thought provoking.

Burn, M.J. & Palmer, S.E. (2014) Solar forcing of Caribbean drought events during the last millennium. Journal of Quaternary Science 29, 827-836. doi: 10.1002/jqs.2660

Göldel, B., Araujo, A.C., Kissling, W.D. & Svenning, J.-C. (2016) Impacts of large herbivores on spinescence and abundance of palms in the Pantanal, Brazil. Botanical Journal of the Linnean Society in press. doi: 10.1111/boj.12420

Llamas, B., Fehren-Schmitz, L., Valverde, G., Soubrier, J., Mallick, S., Rohland, N., Nordenfelt, S., Valdiosera, C., Richards, S.M., Rohrlach, A., Romero, M.I.B., Espinoza, I.F., Cagigao, E.T., Jiménez, L.W., Makowski, K., Reyna, I.S.L., Lory, J.M., Torrez, J.A.B., Rivera, M.A., Burger, R.L., Ceruti, M.C., Reinhard, J., Wells, R.S., Politis, G., Santoro, C.M., Standen, V.G., Smith, C., Reich, D., Ho, S.Y.W., Cooper, A. & Haak, W. (2016) Ancient mitochondrial DNA provides high-resolution time scale of the peopling of the Americas. Science Advances 2. doi: 10.1126/sciadv.1501385

Turner, T.E., Swindles, G.T., Charman, D.J., Langdon, P.G., Morris, P.J., Booth, R.K., Parry, L.E. & Nichols, J.E. (2016) Solar cycles or random processes? Evaluating solar variability in Holocene climate records. Scientific Reports 6, 23961. doi: 10.1038/srep23961

Palynologendagen 2015

October 13, 2015
WDG

Palynologendagen
“Een historisch-ecologische benadering van het landschap in noord-oost Twente”
(“A historical-sociological approach to understanding landscapes in north-east Twente”)
8-9 October 2015
Organized by: Harm Smeenge, Bas van Geel & Stefan Engels
For the: Palynologische Kring

Last week I took part in my first “palynologendagen” (pollen days) with the Palynologische Kring (Dutch palynology society). Unfortunately, due to a prior commitment (Chairing a British Ecological Society careers webinar) I was only able to take part on the second day.

Day two of the pollen days was “op de fiets” (on bikes) in true Dutch style. We met at Twente Fiets to pick up 36 bicycles and one tandem and headed out into the countryside!

Figure 1: Route of the bicycle tour (max speed 21.8 kmph, distance 23.24 km)

Figure 1: Route of the bicycle tour (max speed 21.8 kmph, distance 23.24 km)

Our route (Fig. 1) took in around 14 point of interest. At each point Harm provided interesting insights into the landscape history and how humans had interacted and shaped it. The presentations were in Dutch so I had to concentrate hard to get 50% of the information.

Two particularly nice sites (which I think I understood) were:

  1. the site of an old toll house at the split in the old road to Germany (east) and Scandinavia (north), and
  2. a sedimentary cross section, revealed by river down cutting, which showed the impact of cart wheels on the sediment along the site of an old road.

In addition to the tour it was also fantastic to meet many other fellow palynologists based in the Netherlands. I looking forward to being able to participate in many future Palynologische Kring events, and I am also pleased to say attending this years event has inspired me again to try and push on with learning Dutch again!

 

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Palaeoecology at UvA and Twente 2015: Teaching and Learning

September 21, 2015
cmcmicha

By Crystal McMichael

The month-long palaeoecology module at UvA is coming to an end. We have had two weeks of lectures and microscope work, an introduction to quantitative palaeoecology, and we just finished a week of fieldwork in Twente, which is in the easternmost part of the Netherlands.

Students working in the field (photo: M. Groot)

Students working in the field (photo: M. Groot)

Will Gosling and I tried something new for the field excursion this year. We split the class into eight groups, and gave each group a set of pollen and phytolith samples from an ‘unknown location’. Unknown in this context means being from one of the eight primary sites that we would visit during the field excursion. The students were required to perform vegetation surveys and characterize soils at each of the primary sites that we visited. The goal of each group was to figure out which location their set of ‘unknown’ samples came from. Basically, we had them doing forensic palynology, with idea that they could then better visualize the different vegetation assemblages seen in the palaeoecological records.
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Paleoecology course University of Amsterdam

September 29, 2014
Valerie

Students examining a sediment core extracted with a Russian corer

Students examining a sediment core extracted with a Russian corer

Last week, Will – our new associate professor at the University of Amsterdam – joined us on the field residential module of the undergraduate “Paleoecology” course; 7 days exploring the sediments and vegetation of the Twente region of the Netherlands. The experience provided Will with a lot of information on Dutch language, landscapes, and students; which should be useful to him next year as he will be coordinating the course!

Students examining peat exposures.

Students examining peat exposures.

During this very intensive (4-week) paleoecology course, students get background lectures in past environmental change, learn to identify microfossils in the laboratory (pollen and chironomids), and go on the excursion to experience fieldwork. The field module involves excursions during the day, when students have to identify plant species indicative of different vegetation types in relation to soil nutrient availability and moisture content. The evenings are reserved for the students own paleoecological research investigation; this year students were reconstructing the vegetation history and climate change during the late-glacial from a lake sediment core from Germany. Once data collection was completed the students had to interpret the pollen assemblages they found using the knowledge of modern day ecosystems they gained throughout the week. On the final evening they presented their work to the whole group. The final results they achieved were quite impressive.

Students presenting findings from the days work

Students presenting findings from the days work

I am very curious as to what the course will be like next year, led by Will, and how he will tweak and turn it to his liking.

 

Debating the Vera hypothesis

Debating the Vera hypothesis

 

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