The section Palaeoecology consists of two closely collaborating groups, Aquatic Palaeoecology and Terrestrial Palaeoecology. Our section addresses ecological and climatic questions on annual to millennial time scales. We use the remains of organisms in Quaternary sedimentary sequences (e.g. pollen, macrofossils, charcoal, diatoms, chironomids, cladocerans, ostracodes) and modelling approaches to study the long-term interactions among climate, the biosphere, and society. Palaeoecology presently hosts a European Research Council (ERC) starting grant project (principal investigator Oliver Heiri) and two SNF-AMBIZIONE projects (principal investigators Daniele Colombaroli and Claire Rambeau).
Aquatic Palaeoecology (group leader Oliver Heiri): Specializes in the analysis of aquatic invertebrate remains in lake sediments with the aim of reconstructing past environmental changes (climate, human impact) and ecosystem processes.
Terrestrial Palaeoecology(group leader Willy Tinner): Specializes on using plant remains (pollen, plant macrofossils, charcoal) preserved in Quaternary deposits to reconstruct past environmental changes, with a specific focus on vegetational responses to climate change and disturbance (e.g. fire, land use, mass movements). Modelling approaches are used to independently explore the causes of past dynamics and to quantitatively assess future vegetational shifts under global change scenarios.
Past methane flux from lakes
European climate change
Tropical African ecosystems
Associated researchers and projects