Past Event

BPE Seminar | Dr. Lydia Mackenzie (Zhejiang University)

November 8, 2021
10:00 AM - 11:00 AM
Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory, 61 Route 9W, Palisades, NY 10964
*Please note: in-person attendance is limited to LDEO affiliates. If you would like to participate via zoom, please contact the Seminar organizer for a link*

Disentangling drivers of environmental change in Australia: A multi-proxy paleolimnological approach to understanding anthropogenic and climate-driven environmental change in the Holocene


Disentangling the effects of climate change and anthropogenic activities on the environment is a significant challenge in palaeoenvironmental research. Natural archives of environmental change including tree rings, ice cores, and lake sediments can complement archaeological studies and record how humans have altered the environment through time. Paleolimnological studies which incorporate a range of chemical, physical and biological proxies can be used to infer past environmental change and anthropogenic impacts on the environment.

In this talk, I will discuss how multiple lines of evidence can be used to understand long-term anthropogenic and natural drivers of change in an Australian context. Comparing lacustrine archives from coastal and alpine ecosystems in eastern Australia produces a regional picture of environmental evolution. Pollen and charcoal data, XRF geochemical analysis, and physical proxies are used to reconstruct environmental patterns in the landscape. Proxies from lake sediments are also compared to archaeological datasets to identify the impact of human occupation and land use at different temporal and spatial scales. Results show that drivers of environmental change in the Holocene include fluctuating sea-level, variable precipitation, and human occupation. This work demonstrates how multi-proxy paleolimnological studies from a range of environments can uncover human traces and disentangle natural and anthropogenic signals in the Holocene.

Contact Information

Hung Nguyen