Pronounced changes in African climate, deserts and tropical rain forest over the last glacial cycles presumably affected human’s way out of Africa. These changes were induced by large changes in ice masses, ocean circulation and monsoon dynamics which, in turn, were triggered by variations in the Earth orbit around the sun and subsequent alteration of meridional insolation gradients.
Human impact, climatic events and palaeoenvironments during the Late Holocene
I am a palaeobiologist analysing sediments as environmental and climate archives. My research mainly concerns the study of ostracod shells, which can provide information on parameters such as salinity, water depth and presence of macrophytes; stable oxygen and carbon isotopes and trace element ratios of ostracod shells serve as additional proxies of environmental change.
In the first CRC Lecture of the winter term 2013/14, Dr. med. Burkhard Rieke will speak about schistosomiasis (Bilharzia), a parasitic disease commonly found in Africa. Freshwater snails are the vectors (intermediary agents) of the parasitic trematodes (Schistosoma sp.), which can infect humans exposed to contaminated water. Several CRC projects are running in Africa and their project members are often exposed to water that might be contaminated by infected freshwater snails.