Research

Records of Human Impact in Freshwater Systems in Maharashtra, India

We are working with a diverse team of natural and social scientists to 1) quantify human impacts on freshwater ecosystems in the drought-prone region of Maharashtra, India and 2) provide scientific data that is relevant to local communities. It is becoming increasingly common to use sediment cores to address questions of change during the Anthropocene, especially when other records of environmental history do not exist. The sediment cores we collect will be analyzed using a variety of well-established geologic and paleontological tools to reconstruct the environmental history of the targeted lakes. Finally, we will use this environmental history to address questions and concerns of the local communities, identified by collaborations with social scientists and NGO partners, and evaluate the degree to which human activities have impacted each lake ecosystem.

 

Taphonomy and Time-Averaging of Molluscan Assemblages in Lake Cores

In order to make accurate paleoenvironmental and paleoecological interpretations based on preserved fossil and subfossil assemblages, it is important to understand the taphonomic processes involved in the preservation of those assemblages, this can include the amount of time-averaging that occurs within a geologic stratum. Fossils within the same sedimentary layer are generally assumed to have co-occurred when living, however, several recent studies have shown that there can be a large amount of time-averaging within a single stratum, especially in marine environments. Less emphasis has been put on quantifying the time-averaging in continental assemblages, especially in lacustrine settings. This research aims at better quantifying the time-averaging and other taphonomic processes governing the preservation of lacustrine macrofossil assemblages to aid in paleoecological reconstruction.

 

Coral Reef Community Change Through Time