A 1.2 million year record of ecosystem evolution from Lake Malawi, Africa’s most biodiverse lake

Andy Cohen Lake

Long records of Quaternary ecological and climatic change are critical to understanding the range of potential responses of ecosystems to environmental forcing. In Africa, where complex and ancient tropical ecosystems are important parts of the landscape such records are still relatively rare. In this talk I will present an integrated lake and watershed paleoecological analysis from drill core records obtained by the Lake Malawi Drilling Project, documenting extraordinary fluctuations in climate, hydrology and ecosystem response for the southern tropics of Africa. High resolution lacustrine and terrestrial paleoecology and sedimentology data sets from these Early Pleistocene-Holocene drill cores provide the most complete record of this duration currently available from Africa.

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Time series analyses of these records demonstrate the important role that insolation, and especially ~400ka eccentricity modulated precessional cyles Malawi ecosystems. We observe shifts between more arid conditions (shallow alkaline and well mixed lake, with discontinuous desert vegetation) and more humid environments (deep, stratified, freshwater lake with dense forest). These broadly synchronous changes in lake paleoecology, lake sedimentology, and watershed vegetation demonstrate the major role of climate in regulating this system. Transitions between these lake/watershed state extremes is often very abrupt, suggesting that the combined lake/watershed repeatedly passed through hydroclimate thresholds, with important implications for the evolution of the lake’s endemic biodiversity and ecosystem. Lake Malawi also appears to have undergone a major state change after 800-700ka with an adjustement in base level of hundreds of meters that appears to reflect a change in outlet position driven by tectonics. All of these cyclic and non-cyclic changes provide an environmental template against which we can much better understand the adaptive radiation of cichlid fishes which has occurred in the lake, one of the most biodiverse lakes on earth.

 

Prof. Andrew Cohen (University of Arizona)

My research area is paleolimnology, the interpretation of lake history from sedimentary and paleontological records. Most of my work to date has involved studies of depositional environments, paleoecology, and climate history of the African Rift Lakes and the arid climate lakes of the western US. I use paleoecological and sedimentological records as primary tools in the interpretation of lake deposits, from both outcrops and sediment cores.

Event Information:

Date, Time:04/07/2016, 14:00 h – 15:00 h

Location: Room S12, Seminargebäude (Building 106), Universitätsstraße 37 , Cologne

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How to get funding: Grant writing workshop for young researchers

banner_grand_writingIn this workshop, research funding experts from proWiss Consulting Services for Researchers will share their knowledge in the field of proposal writing for research grants.

In the workshop we will think about ways how to transform your research idea into a promising grant proposal.

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Topics covered in this workshop:

  • Important principles of grant writing
  • Structure of a grant proposal
  • How to create a budget plan
  • Reviewer-oriented writing
  • How to search for an appropriate funding agency

Please be prepared for active participation, group work and exercises.

You will work on your own research ideas!

Your Instructors:

Dr. Birte Kathage

Dr. Birte Kathage

PD Dr. Reinhard Klein-Arendt

PD Dr. Reinhard Klein-Arendt

 

Birte Kathage, PhD and Reinhard Klein-Arendt, PhD are research consultants at proWiss Consulting Services for Researchers and experts in the fields of grant proposal writing, research funding and research (project) management. As trainers for the DAAD DIES ProGRANT-Courses they are responsible for the training of researchers and younger PhD holders from countries in the Global South (mainly Latin America, Africa, the Middle East and Southeast Asia).

SCHEDULE

Monday 20.06.2016

 09.00 – 10.30h:

  • Welcome address
  • Introduction of facilitators and participants
  • Important principles of grant writing
    • Elevator pitch
    • Group work: Elevator Pitch
    • Presentation

10.30-10.45h:

  • Coffee break

10.45-12.15h:

  • Structure of a grant proposal
    • Excercise: Summary
  • How to create a budget plan

12.15-13.15h:

  • Lunch break

13.15-14.45h:

  • cont. budget plan
  • Group work & presentation
  • Reviewer-oriented writing

14.45-15.00h:

  • Coffee break

15.00-16.30h:

  • cont. reviewer-oriented writing
    • Group work & presentation: bad proposals
  • How to search for an appropriate

Booking tag-01Friday 24.06.2016

Individual consultations (please make your reservations here)

Event Information:

Date, Time:20/06/2016, 09:00 h – 17:00 h

Location: Room 1.90 Bernhard Feilchenfeld Str. 11, Bernhard Feilchenfeld Str. 11, Cologne

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Beyond out of Africa: the North African Middle Stone Age as a window into human origins

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EScerri

Dr. Eleanor Scerri British Academy Postdoctoral Fellow, University of Oxford

Hypotheses invoking fossil and archaeological data from the North African Middle Stone Age (MSA) include a gradual, multiregional origin of our species within Africa, an intricate history of within and out of Africa dispersals and the demographically induced origins of complex culture (d’Errico et al., 2009; Gunz et al., 2012; Scally and Durbin, 2012; Harvati and Hublin, 2013; Scerri et al., 2014a, 2014b). However, the North African MSA itself remains poorly understood, despite the implications of these hypotheses.

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Chronology of paleoclimate and sea-level changes during the postglacial transition

Prof. Edouard Bard

Prof. Edouard Bard

In contrast with the last few millennia that are characterized by a rather stable climate, the period between 21000 and 6000 years before present experienced a complete reorganization of all climate compartments, e.g. atmosphere, ice sheets and ocean, lakes and rivers. It is only recently that paleotemperature records covering the last deglaciation have become available at a global scale, including tropical sites that are very remote from the main center of variation linked to the melting of former ice-sheets on each side of the North-Atlantic basin. In addition, the dating of these records is now sufficiently accurate and precise to allow meaningful compilation and comparisons with model simulations performed in a transient mode.

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Advances in microanalyses of archaeological materials

 

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Prof. Rainer Grün

The strength of the Research School of Earth Sciences at the Australian National University has always been the development of state-of-the-art micro-analytical facilities and utilising their unique capabilities to advance earth science research. In recent years, we have established laboratories for laser ablation analysis, a sensitive high resolution micro probe dedicated to light stable isotopes and a single stage accelerator for radiocarbon dating.

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The Motivation for the Seasonal Movement of Bison Hunters on the Northwestern Plains of North America

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Gerald Oetelaar

Prof. Gerald A. Oetelaar, Department of Archaeology, University of Calgary, Calgary, Alberta, Canada

To western researchers, the structure of the grasslands ecosystem on the Northwestern Plains of North America is determined primarily by climate as modified locally by topography, drainage, and sediments. The seasonal availability of the different grasses determines the migratory behaviour of bison which, in turn, influences the movement of human populations. Bison ecology and behaviour also determine the patterns of human aggregation and dispersal. Long-term climatic fluctuations, as measured by effective moisture and temperature, influence the net primary productivity of the short grass plains and, by extension, the size of the bison population.

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Introduction to GIS

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Instructor: Dr. Andreas Bolten (Project Z2)

Dr. Andreas Bolten

Dr. Andreas Bolten, Institute of Geography, University of Cologne

Every geographical dataset is a combination of location and attribute data. However, the location can be understood as one individual attribute of a dataset. Different data formats or data models are available to optimize data storage and/or analyze speed.

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