Institute of Earth Sciences, Room 236, Askja, Sturlugata 7, 101 Reykjavík, Iceland
Late glacial and Holocene environment and climate
Water is a very rare source in many arid to sub-humid regions of the world, and water availability a major concern in times of climate change. Understanding the magnitude and abruptness of hydrological changes in the past supports assessments of ongoing and future climate change. Lake sediments are used as geological archives, and sediments and fossils are investigated to reconstruct past lake-level and water-chemistry changes as a result of climate fluctuations or human impacts. Research is conducted with focus on the dry regions of the Old World with case studies in China, Mongolia, Tajikistan, Jordan, Israel and Morocco.
Climate and cultural history of the Near East
The Near East is the key region for the transition of hunters and gatherers to a life style of agriculture and sedentism. This major cultural change, the Neolithic Revolution, took place at the end of the late glacial just before the onset of the Holocene warming. The role of climate and environmental changes, especially as severe as during the Younger Dryas period, is investigated at the archaeological site Jordan River Dureijat in northern Israel. Graduate and undergraduate students work at the excavation site since the year 2016.
Early Pleistocene environments and hominins in NE Asia
Exposed sediments in the Nihewan Basin in northeastern China contain stone artefacts as old as 1.6 million years and are evidence for the very early presence of hominins outside of Africa in eastern Asia. Artefact-bearing sediment sections and long sediment sequences are investigated to examine the specific setting during times of hominin activity and to reconstruct long-term environmental and climate change in the early Pleistocene.
Ostracod (micro-crustacean) ecology and distribution
Ostracods are micro-crustaceans which produce calcitic shells. These shells are readily preserved in various kinds of aquatic sediments and they can be used as excellent palaeoenvironmental indicators. In addition, ostracod shells are used as materials for geochemical analyses. A good understanding of the distribution and habitat characteristics of living ostracods is required for a sophisticated and possibly quantitative reconstruction of selected ecological parameters such as salinity or water depth. The modern distribution and ecological tolerances of ostracod species is investigated in Iceland, in Central Asia and the Near East.