Notts palaeolimnologists meet in China

This summer some of us palaeo researchers; Suzanne McGowan, Ginnie Panizzo, Heather Moorhouse, Mark Stevenson and Sarah Roberts, from University of Nottingham attended the 13th International Palaeolimnology Symposium (IPS) conference held in Lanzhou, China. Ginnie, who is the International Palaeolimnology Association (IPA) Young Scientist Representative, organised the Early Career Researcher Workshop at the start of the conference, which provided a great opportunity for researchers to engage in discussions on writing manuscripts, writing funding applications and applying for academic jobs. At the conference Suzanne gave a keynote talk within the ‘Putting ecology back into Paleoecology’ session, Heather presented her work on the Windermere catchment, and was awarded the best student presentation prize, and both Mark and Sarah gave talks on their work on sediment cores from lakes in Greenland and Lake Baikal.

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This was an excellent conference for us all to attend, with many interesting talks and posters in sessions including; lake sediments as recorders of human-environment interaction, new advances in applied stable isotopes, recent advances in biomarkers, and palaeolimnological work from Tibetan, Alpine, high-latitude, Polar and southeast Asian Lakes. We had a great time in China with fellow palaeolimnologists, attending talks throughout the day…and taking part in a bit of karaoke in the evening too!

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Team get together at the AGU Meeting

Last month Dr George Swann, Prof Anson Mackay, Dr Virginia Panizzo and Sarah Roberts, travelled across to San Francisco to attend the American Geophysical Union (AGU) fall meeting. This is a huge conference, which attracts tens of thousands of scientists each year from all around the world. AGU was an incredible opportunity to explore the on-going research within our fields, present our Baikal work and to discuss the work with other scientists – it was an extremely memorable and inspiring experience!

To find out more check out this recently published blog post: ‘Talking isotopes, state side…’ on the British Geological Survey (BGS) GeoBlogy…

Pollution from tourism at Lake Baikal

Russian ecologists report that tourism is posing a serious problem to the health of Lake Baikal, as waste from tourist camps and water transport vehicles is being dumped into the lake. Ecologists warn that increased levels of pollution from tourism has lead to the growth of alien aquatic plant species, such as Elodea Canadensis, and high accumulation of these plants could lead to water-logging. To find out more, read ‘Lake Baikal, world’s deepest body of freshwater, turning into swamp’   

Baikal team together for the Rick Battarbee Lecture Series 2014 and project meeting

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The team got together on Thursday 8th May for the Rick Battarbee Lecture Series at UCL where Professor Sheri Fritz (from the University of Nebraska, USA) presented a talk on diatoms and climate: ‘From Microscopic to Macroscopic: Climate Variation Through Time as Viewed Through the Lens of the Diatoms.’ Sheri Fritz discussed the work carried out on diatom-inferred salinity and climate reconstructions from continental lakes and the role of ionic concentrations within saline lakes on diatom distributions. Palaeoclimatic records from lakes in the Northern Great Plains were presented, along with research into medieval mega droughts and the formation of Nebraska diatomites during Marine Isotope Stage 3. This was an excellent talk, and the extensive diatom research was inspirational.

The following day, the baikal team (Prof Anson Mackay, Dr George Swann, Dr Suzanne McGowan, Prof Neil Rose, Dr Virginia Panizzo, Jen Adams and Sarah Roberts) gathered for the first project meeting in 2014 at UCL. The meeting began with Jen Adams, Sarah Roberts and Ginnie Panizzo discussing their research findings so far, presenting data from contemporary limnological studies and sedimentary records. Jen presented results from High Performance Liquid Chromatography (HPLC) aided algal pigment analyses and Loss-on-ignition analyses (a measure of organic content) from two catchment lakes; Black Lake and Selenga Delta Lake 1. Sarah presented work on lake-water profile and catchment nutrient concentrations (total phosphorus, silicate and nitrate concentrations), Dissolved Organic Carbon (analysed at Loughborough University), Mercury concentrations (in lake-waters and sediments analysed by Dr. Handong Yang at UCL), HPLC algal pigments and carbon isotopes (analysed at the British Geological Survey). Ginnie presented the Silicon isotope results from all the lake water profiles and catchment sites.

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The project meeting was a great opportunity to explore data interpretations amongst the group and discuss potential publications and forthcoming opportunities to present the project work at conferences- thanks all for an excellent meeting and looking forward to the next one!