Programme 2015


Preliminary agenda 23rd November - 4th December 2015

Sunday 22: arrival, evening ice-breaker

Monday 23

Quaternary palaeoecology: introduction. The palaeoecological record: types of deposits, and the archive of lake and bog sediments.
Practical - Site selection: use of maps, satellite images, air photographs and Google Earth. Collection of cores: coring equipment. Overview and download of computer programs: psimpoll, Ghostscript, Ghostview, BCal, Calib, Clam, Bacon, R, R-Studio, Google Earth.

Tuesday 24

Field work: retrieving a sediment sequence. Description of the catchment area and the basin: bathymetry, and the used of ground penetrating radar. Gravity and piston corers: collection of the water-sediment interface and coring. Russian corer for peat bogs. Transport and storage of samples.

Wednesday 25

Palaeoecology of the oceans: foraminifera and its application for reconstructing sea-surface temperature. Oxygen isotopes: stratigraphic markers. Earth's orbit variation, glaciations. Evolution in space and time: e.g. Globorotalia.
Overview of selected palaeoecological analyses: sedimentological and biological indicators (e.g. content of organic matter and carbonates, magnetic susceptibility, pollen, plant macrofossil remains, charcoal, ostracods and charophytes).
Practical - Core description and magnetic susceptibility analysis. Sub-sampling. Measure of organic matter and carbonate content by loss on ignition.

Thursday 26

Long Quaternary terrestrial records with multiple glacial-interglacial oscillations: e.g. (i) Funza, Bogotá-Colombia; (ii) Tenaghi Philippon, north-eastern Greece; (iii) Lynch's crater, Queensland-Australia; (iv) Monticchio, south Italy; (v) Ioannina, north-western Greece. Variability on the vegetation responses. Correlation of terrestrial long-cores with marine records, and with isolated interglacial periods.
Pollen: principles of pollen analysis. Pollen diagrams. Pollen sums. Databases.
Practical - data presentation introduction to psimpoll. Description of laboratory techniques and preparation procedures.

Friday 27

Global Quaternary palaeoecology: key sites for the last glacial-interglacial transition. Forcing factors for vegetation and environmental change: e.g. fire in Patagonia, soil in Hungary, climate variability in Sahara. Packrat middens. Glacial-interglacial transition in the tropics.
Practical - Pollen (cont.): Pollen counting: calculating percentages and confidence intervals.

Saturday 28

Palaeogenetics, molecular clocks and aDNA
Pollen (cont.): Interpretation of pollen diagrams: pollen production, dispersal and transport to basins; pollen taphonomy and preservation. Vegetation changes during glacial and interglacial periods.
Practical - Introduction to Tilia.

Sunday 29


Monday 30

Refugia: origins and definition. Types of refugia: altitudinal, cryptic, tropical and Holocene refugia. Fossil and molecular evidence. The role of mid-latitudes. Species responses.
Establishing the chronology: radiocarbon dating, radiocarbon ages and terminology. Dating the recent past with 14C.
Practical - Calibration and calibration curves, age estimators. Calibration programs: BCal, CALIB y CALIBomb.

Tuesday 1

Communities: historical thinking Darwin, Clements, Gleason. Evidence from the palaeorecord: variable behaviour, non-analogue communities. Vegetation maps in North America and Europe. Intermingled fauna. Turnover.
Age-depth models: construction, selection and pitfalls. Calculating concentration and accumulation rates: errors and confidence intervals.
Practical - Calibration and age-depth models: construction, selection and pitfalls.

Wednesday 2

Plant migration. Movement of taxa on long-timescales. Pollen evidence for migration on glacial-interglacial timescales. Rates of migrations. Factors that enable migration.
Practical - Reservoir effect and correction of 14C ages. Age-depth models using clam and Bacon.

Thursday 3

Quaternary extinctions. Tree extinctions, large vertebrates, historical extinctions. Causes.
Analysis of stratigraphical data. Zonation: methods and implementation. Rate of change.
Practical - Examples of palaeoecological use of zonation and rate of change analysis.

Friday 4

Evolution. The role of Quaternary palaeoecology (last 2 Myr) for understanding evolutionary patterns. Historical background: diversity, Linnaeus, Lyell, Agassiz, Darwin, Mayr. The fossil evidence. Phylogenetic and fossil DNA contributions. Organism responses to environmental change: stasis, extinctions, evolution, speciation. Significance of the Quaternary in the evolutionary patterns.
Ordination methods: principal component analysis (PCA) and detrended correspondance analysis (DCA). Rate of change. Diversity estimates: palynological richness: gamma diversity or within landscape diversity; compositional change: beta diversity, diversity between habitats or communities within a landscape.
Practical - Examples of palaeoecological use of ordination techniques. Rarefaction analysis and detrended canonical correspondence analysis (DCCA).
What's up? Databases. Quantitative vegetation reconstructions. Vegetation modelling. Palaeoecology and palaeogenetic. Latinoamérica: dónde estamos?

Farewell dinner

Saturday 5: breakfast, departure