Support 2019


Giorgia Camperio / Departement of Earth Science / ETH Zürich, Switzerland and Department of Surface Waters, Research and Management / Eawag, Swiss Federal Institute of Aquatic Science and Technology / Duebendorf, Switzerland

Attendance to the 20th INQUA Congress in Dublin, Ireland

The CH-QUAT funding supported my attendance at the 20th Congress of the International Union for Quaternary Research (INQUA) in Dublin, Ireland. Here I presented the results from my doctoral project in a talk titled “Tracing environmental changes in the islands of Espiritu Santo, Vanuatu” in the session “Late Quaternary environmental changes in the South Pacific: climate, ecosystem dynamics, and human colonization”.

Small islands are paradigmatic cases of anthropogenic impacts on ecosystems. Using lake sediment cores to reconstruct past human activities can help retrieve information about the environmental responses to different rates and degrees of change in these vulnerable ecosystems. On islands in Remote Oceania, the origin and timing of the first human settlements, and consequent ecosystem modifications are still under debate. Past landscape changes have been demonstrated by archaeological, palaeontological, palynological and geomorphological investigations. However, few sedimentological studies have been conducted so far on this topic in the area. In our study, we used a multiproxy approach, combining geochemical tools based on biomarkers (fossil molecules of known origin) with traditional sedimentological methods (total organic carbon, biogenic silica, grain size) on cores from three lakes of the west coast of Espiritu Santo, Vanuatu, each dating back ~ 1000 years. At the INQUA I had the chance to present the project results at one of the most important international scientific events in the field. Here I had the unique opportunity to receive precious feedbacks and to get in contact with experts in the subject. Thank you CH-QUAT!

To know more about the project https://www.eawag.ch/en/department/surf/projects/macro-tracking-the-polynesian-migration/

Contact:
Giorgia Camperio
Eawag - Department of Surface Waters - Research & Management
Überlandstrasse 133, 8600, Dübendorf, Office BU D18
ETH Zürich Department of Earth Science
Life Science Zurich Graduate School – Ecology program
giorgia.camperio(at)eawag.ch

G. Camperio
G. Camperio (Image: J. Munar & D. Nef)
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G. Camperio
G. Camperio (Image: J. Munar & D. Nef)

Serdar Yesilyurt / Institute of Geological Sciences / University of Bern, Switzerland

I am very grateful for the financial support of CH-QUAT my participation in the INQUA 2019 in Dublin, Ireland. Participating this congress gave me good chance to enhance my scientific networking competence and, to join multiple scientific sessions. I am a postdoctoral researcher in the Institute of Geological Sciences at the University of Bern, Switzerland.
I presented “Timing of Quaternary glaciations in eastern Turkey, inferred from 36Cl cosmogenic dating” as a poster in INQUA 2019. In this study, I investigated Late Quaternary glaciations in the mountains of eastern Turkey. Because Turkey is located in the Alpine-Himalayan mountain belt, it has a mountainous landscape with ranges extending parallel to the coast in the north and south. This landscape causes moist air masses to leave precipitation mostly in the coastal regions. Therefore, the central parts of Turkey have lower precipitation compared to the coast, and the continental climate prevails. This inbalance results in different equilibrium line altitudes (ELA) on the coast and inland. In order to explore, in this study, how this inbalance in the past was and how it was changing in time and space, we focus on the remnants of past glaciations in the eastern Turkish mountains, where significant evidence of past glaciations are present, but poorly constrained. To do so, we studied the glacial geology in the Kavuşşahap Mountains, Mount Bingöl, Munzur Mountains and Tahtalı Mountains in detail and reconstructed the glacial chronology with surface exposure dating.

Contact:
Serdar Yesilyurt
University of Bern
Institute of Geological Sciences
Baltzerstrasse 1-3 3012 Bern, Switzerland
serdar.yesilyurt(at)geo.unibe.ch

S. Yesilyurt
S. Yesilyurt (Image: A. & S. Yesilyurt)
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S. Yesilyurt
S. Yesilyurt (Image: A. & S. Yesilyurt)

Colin Courtney-Mustaphi / Geoecology, Department of Environmental Sciences / University of Basel, Switzerland

The travel support from CH-QUAT allows me to participate on additional fieldwork to collect Late-Quaternary swamp and lake sediment cores with a multidisciplinary team from study sites located in northern Tanzania. The coring sites are located alongside archaeological work across the Greater Serengeti Ecosystem that includes Lake Victoria, semi-arid savannahs, and montane forests. The aim is to generate datasets of vegetation and erosion histories derived from pollen, charcoal, and sedimentologic analyses and combine these data with evidence of human land use from archaeology. Together with additional evidence of land use and land cover change derived from archival sources and air photographs, a long-term description of vegetation change will be useful for analysing human-environment interactions across the region.

During fieldwork in 2018 a gravity core was collected from small boats on Speke’s Gulf (Lake Victoria) and has encouraging lead-210 dated results and initial pollen processing shows that it should provide a record of savannah vegetation change in the region over the past 200 years. During this time, several major changes occurred in the region due to the decimation of herbivore megafauna, the establishment of Colonial farming settlements, mining activities, deforestation, and the introduction of Nile Perch to the lake. An exploratory palustrine sediment core was also collected from inside Serengeti National Park. During upcoming fieldwork in summer 2019, we will return to collect deeper sediments from the lake inside the park and collect lake sediments from the lakes in montane forests of Ngorongoro Crater.

I am grateful for the support from CH-QUAT that propels my continued engagement to study tropical palaeoenvironments within this multidisciplinary project.

Additional information on the collaborative research project is available here:
http://www.real-project.eu/arcc

Contact:
Colin Courtney-Mustaphi
colin.courtney-mustaphi(at)basel.ch

C. Courtney-Mustaphi
C. Courtney-Mustaphi (Image: Rob Marchant and Colin Courtney-Mustaphi)
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C. Courtney-Mustaphi
C. Courtney-Mustaphi (Image: Rob Marchant and Colin Courtney-Mustaphi)