Lea de Nascimento

Marie Curie Post doctoral fellowship: Tracking past human impact on islands by improving palaeoecological reconstructions with PalEnDNA analysis

Lea de Nascimento was awarded a Marie Skłodowska-Curie Individual Fellowship and worked with the Landcare Research Long-Term Ecology Laboratory for the first two years of the three year award. Lea learned how to extract and analyse palaeoenvironmental DNA (PalEnDNA) from her lake sediment cores taken from the Canary Islands. The project aimed to improve the reconstruction of past environments of the Canary Islands trying to resolve the timing and extent of human impact in Canarian ecosystems. Combining both conventional (pollen, charcoal) and novel (PalEnDNA) proxiesher project aimed to improve the detection of key ‘ghost taxa’, such as trees in the laurel family (Lauraceae), that are difficult to track in the fossil record. PalEnDNA analysis was also being used to obtain information from lowlands ‘silent sites’ where plant fossils are not well preserved due to the dryer conditions. In the last year of her fellowship she returned to the University of La Laguna, where she worked on integrating palaeoecological results in conservation ecology and management strategies in the Canary Islands.

This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under the Marie Skłodowska-Curie grant agreement No 700952

Lea is now based at the University of La Laguna (Canary Islands, Spain)

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