Palaeo 50: The priority questions in palaeoecology

13.12 - 14.12.2012
Oxford, UK
Contact person:
Anson Mackay, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Workshop report: 
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This workshop aims to identify 50 of the most pressing questions in palaeoecology relevant to the PAGES community and will define key areas of a future research agenda.


1. Human ecosystem interactions
What new research is required to improve our understanding of key issues facing the Anthropocene? Discussion will be structured around topics identified by PAGES Focus 4 (carbon, landscapes, ecosystem services and biodiversity loss).

2. Ecology over long timescales
Quantifying ecological thresholds, restoration ecology, resilience and land-use change. The theme synthesizes key findings on these concepts and introduces new research questions.

3. Novel ecosystems and ecological adaptation
Addresses the importance of adaptation in the fossil record, and how insights gained from novel ecosystems influences the management decisions of natural ecosystems.

4. Measures of uncertainty
Deals with the technical assumptions and problems encountered when reconstructing those environmental variables from the palaeoecological record that are integral to PAGES Focus 4.

5. Novel developments for palaeoecological reconstructions
Identifies novel statistical and methodological approaches to address old and new questions for Anthropocene related issues.

Each theme will involve up to three invited keynotes whose aim is to stimulate ideas and address cutting-edge concepts. Participants will present posters under the headers and will also be assigned to specialist breakout groups. Within each breakout session, 15 research questions will be shortlisted which are directly relevant to the main aims of PAGES Focus 4. The final 50 questions will be drafted during a panel discussion on the second day of the meeting.

Post-meeting material