Upcoming Talks

Jorge Cardich

Postdoc, Universidad Peruana Cayetano Heredia
September 29, 2020

(Paleo)Ecology of benthic foraminifera in anoxic sediments: the reconstruction of the OMZ off Peru in the last millenium

Allison Karp

Postdoc, Yale University

October 6, 2020

Image of Allison Karp. She is white woman with light hair wearing sunglasses and a blue shirt, and is holding a butterfly on a grassy mountainside. 

Burning Questions: The role of fire ecology in the Neogene expansion of C4 grasslands

Fire is crucial to maintaining modern subtropical grasslands, yet our empirical support for the origins and evolution of this association is limited by a dearth of co­eval records of both grass and fire proxies in pre-Quaternary sediments. Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) are a suite of molecules that can derive both from the burning of terrestrial vegetation and from thermal maturation of organic matter. I developed an approach to quantitatively source these molecules to enable reconstructions of Neogene fire occurrence. Here, I test hypothesis that fire-feedbacks facilitated the rise of C4 vegetation in the Mio-Pliocene using Pyrogenic PAH abundance patterns alongside records of δ13C of leaf waxes on two continents. Fire-derived PAH relative abundances jumped an order of magnitude in association with a rise in grass inputs recorded at the landscape (Pakistan) and continental scale (Bengal Fan) in South Asia, but not in Australia. These results support fire disturbance as a critical mechanism of terrestrial biome transitions, but emphasize the need to reconstruct fire explicitly alongside other climate and ecological variables, as fire-feedbacks can differ drastically between continents.

Aviwe Matiwane

PhD, Rhodes University
October 13, 2020

Title TBA – Paleobotany

Sarah Shelley

Postdoc, Carnegie Museum
October 20, 2020

Title TBA – Paleocene mammals

Jamie McFarlin

Postdoc, University of Colorado Boulder
October 27, 2020

Title TBA – Organic geochemistry, lakes

Esther Githumbi

Postdoc, Linnaeus University

November 3, 2020

Title TBA – Palynology

Christine Chen

Postdoc, Caltech

November 10, 2020

Title TBA – Hydrogeological cycles

Kaustubh Thirumalai

Assistant Professor, University of Arizona

November 17, 2020

Title TBA – Paleoclimate

Emma Karoune


November 24, 2020

Image is of Emma Karoune on her recent plant and soil sampling project in British saltmarshes.

Open Science Practices in Phytolith Research and Beyond

Open science is becoming an integral part of all scientific research but the extent of these practices in many fields is unknown, including phytolith research. I will present the findings of my recent project concerning the assessment of open science practices in phytolith research. My research assessed data and metadata sharing, and open access, in a sample of journal articles containing primary phytolith data from 16 prominent archaeological and palaeoecological journals (341 articles). It builds on similar studies conducted for archaeological science (Marwick & Pilaar Birch 2018) and macro-botanical remains (Lodwick 2019). I collected data concerning data format, reusability of data, inclusion of phytolith morphotype pictures for identification purposes and a fully described method, use of the International code for phytolith nomenclature (ICPN) and whether the articles were open access. I will suggest steps forward to use as a starting point for discussions in the wider phytolith and academic communities to develop guidelines for greater integration of open science practices and discuss how a move to a more holistic open approach will produce a more sustainable future for our research.

Emma Karoune


November 24, 2020

Title TBA – Phytoliths

Natalie Umling

Postdoc, AMNH

December 1, 2020

Title TBA – Paleoceanography

Nussaibah Raja

PhD Student, Friedrich-Alexander-Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg

December 8, 2020

Title TBA – Conservation paleobiology

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