Science ProgramScienceProgram.html

Back to

4. Quaternary ecosystems and climates

(SS04) Tropical coastal environments: Drivers and consequences of ecological change in the late Quaternary

Organizers: Ulrike Proske & Hermann Behling

Contact email address:

Purpose: Coastal ecosystems, such as peat forests, mangroves and salt marshes, play a key role along tropical shorelines. Due to their position as link between the terrestrial and the marine system, these ecosystems are known to prevent the erosion of sediments and thus stabilise coastlines, dampen the impact of storm surges, cycle nutrients, store carbon and provide a unique habitat for numerous marine and terrestrial organisms. Throughout the late Quaternary changes in a variety of local, regional and global parameters as well as human impact forced these ecosystems to adapt constantly to new environmental conditions. The continuous reconfiguration of these ecosystems is reflected in their biodiversity pattern and the variance of their spatial extent, which in turn had consequences for the coastal system as a whole.

This session welcomes contributions from scientists researching the palaeoecology and palaeoenvironment as well as drivers and consequences of ecological change in pan-tropical coastal ecosystems.

(SS05) Late Quaternary environments in Southeast Asia

Organizers: Janelle Stevenson, Ulrike Proske, Zhen Li & Thi Mai Huong Nguyen

Contact email address:

Purpose: Southeast Asia hosts a wide range of ecosystems, from montane rainforest to coastal mangroves. Throughout the late Quaternary these ecosystems were subjected to drastic changes in environmental conditions which acted on different temporal scales (millennia to decades) and were controlled by global (e.g. sea level and climate) and local drivers (e.g. fire, alterations in geomorphology and human activity). These fluctuations in environmental parameters induced profound changes in the landscape leading to spatial and compositional adaptations of the different ecosystems. By investigating late Quaternary palaeoecological records, drivers and feedback mechanisms of ecological change become apparent which allow us to better understand ecosystem dynamics under changing environmental conditions.

This symposium invites contributions investigating the development of late Quaternary landscapes throughout Southeast Asia. It aims to bring together researchers investigating spatial and ecological ecosystem evolution and the drivers behind environmental change.

(SS06) "Into the Icehouse" climate and vegetation change at the end of the Pliocene (a joint ROCEEH and NECLIME symposium)

Organizers: Torsten Utescher & A. Angela Bruch

Contact email address:

Purpose: The drastic global change from Neogene warm to Quaternary ice house climate took place to a large extent during the Pliocene. Marine records give evidence for a globally severe cooling and/or increasing aridity during Pliocene and towards the Pleistocene. There is evidence from various palaeobotanical records that this change involved a distinct loss in biodiversity, and for the first time, plant associations are recorded that are close to modern ecosystems. However not many details are known yet about the spatial and temporal distinctions in terrestrial climate evolution, influencing the vegetation cover differently in different parts of the continents.

Our symposium aims to discuss the late Pliocene to early Pleistocene terrestrial climate record, its spatial differentiation and influence on vegetation development. Contributions to quantitative vegetation and climate reconstructions based on all kinds of plant fossils, macro remains as well as pollen, and from all parts of the world are welcome to provide an overview of temporal and spatial changes at the Pliocene/Pleistocene transition.

(SS16) Holocene Palynology and Tropical Palaeoecology

Organizers: Navnith K.P. Kumaran & Ruta Limaye

Contact email address:

Purpose: Holocene epoch represents the last 10,000 years of earth’s history. There have been dramatic changes in sea level and climate during this epoch. The present landscape and ecology have been substantially modified as a result of Holocene events. Generation of bio-georesources has also been seriously affected due to climate and anthropogenic changes in the recent past. There is considerable concern on the changing scenario of the monsoon pattern and its effects on the vegetation in the tropics. The phenological pattern, pollen production and dispersal aspects can be decoded using the preserved pollen as signatures in the sediments. Since Holocene constitutes the latest geological epoch and also concerned with our environment in which the interactions of both the biosphere and Geosphere, application of Palynology will be an effective tool to understand how the vegetation responded to climate change/monsoonal variations. Considering the immense potential preserved in the marine and terrestrial sediment archives, the vegetation dynamics of the Tropics during the Holocene is to be focused in the proposed symposium. 

This session welcomes contributions from scientists working on Holocene Palynology and vegetation dynamics with special reference to aspects of Tropical Palaeoecology.

(SS24) Detection and characterisation of millennial-scale climate variability in Quaternary pollen records (INQUA IFG ACER symposium)

Organizers: William J. Fletcher & Maria Fernanda Sanchez Goñi

Contact email address:

Purpose: Millennial-scale variability is increasingly recognized as a recurrent feature of Quaternary climates. Following more than a decade of intensive research into Dansgaard-Oeschger cycles and Heinrich events of the last glacial, it is clear that palynology has a vital role to play in understanding biosphere responses to millennial-scale variability and in constraining spatial variability in the impacts of this variability. These insights can lead in turn to better understandings of the underlying mechanisms and drivers of millennial-scale climatic changes. We welcome contributions related to the investigation of millennial-scale climatic variability in palynological records, in particular related to: palynology as part of multiproxy investigations of long terrestrial or marine sediment sequences; constraining the timing and nature of millennial-scale variability during the last or earlier glacial-interglacial cycles; vegetation-climate interactions on millennial timescales. This symposium is part of the activities of the INQUA International Focus Group ACER (Abrupt Climate Changes and Environmental Responses).

(SS25) Late Cenozoic to modern marine palynology of the circum-Pacific Ocean

Organizers: Fabienne Marret, Anne de Vernal & André Rochon

Contact email address:

Purpose: Over the last decades, deep-sea sediments from the Pacific have revealed the strong potential of marine palynology to reconstruct past environmental changes on long- and short terms. For instance, the NE side of the Pacific has been relatively well investigated for the recent distribution of dinoflagellate cysts as a tool for past sea-surface reconstructions. Longer records are also available, combining pollen and dinoflagellate cysts, enabling a comprehensive picture of the regional climate dynamics. However, the Pacific Ocean is still understudied compared to the Atlantic Ocean, although it is an important component of the global atmospheric-ocean coupled system. The biological affinity of many palynological taxa from the Pacific still needs to be documented. Moreover, there are modern organic-walled dinoflagellate cysts that are endemic to the Pacific Ocean (for ex., Dalella chathamense, Echinidinium spp.). Therefore, it is timely to shed some light on the marine palynology of the Pacific realm.