Reconstructing past environments is a key initiative within current attempts to i) contextualise contemporary environmental change, ii) model the Earth’s climate and iii) predict future climate and associated environmental change. Palaeoenvironmental research is of critical importance due to the relative lack of reliable documented climate records predating the 20th century. This has resulted in the use of biological climate ‘proxies’, often microfossils preserved within sedimentary archives, to provide qualitative and quantitative reconstructions of the past, in terms of climate and environmental conditions. As students are expected to work with complex multi-source palaeoecological datasets, there is a need for palaeoecologists to be suitably trained in the application of a wide range of proxy indicators. This 1 week course is therefore designed to provide an overview of key taxonomic groups often utilised in palaeoecological studies, with a focus on diatoms, pollen, chironomids, beetles and vertebrates.
Each day will be dedicated to a different microfossil/macrofossil group, with morning lectures designed to review taxonomy and environmental gradients in terms of palaeoecological reconstructions. The afternoon sessions will be dedicated to the provision of bespoke laboratory microscopy and desk-based activities, with the students being introduced to relevant NHM reference collections and learn the taxonomic skills required to differentiate between species.
The course is fully funded by NERC and there are only 12 places available (the course has been oversubscribed in all previous years). The course is designed for PhD students and ECRs but is of course open to all. NERC funded students get priority but if spaces are left over, non-NERC applicants are considered. All expenses are covered to ensure little/no cost to the course delegates. For further information on the course, its contents and associated learning outcomes, please visit the link below, where you will also find the course application form: http://www.nhm.ac.uk/our-science/courses-and-students/short-course-quaternary-palaeoecology.html
Registration deadline is 26th November. For any enquiries regarding the course, please contact Tom Hill