The reconstruction of past ecosystems is based on the investigation of individuals and communities of ancient organisms and their interactions with the changing environment. After the death of the organisms traces of their existence remain preserved in soils and sediments. These traces include pollen grains from flowering plants, spores from non-vascular plants like mosses or some vascular plants like ferns, horsetails and Lycopods, and fossilized body parts (macrofossils) of plant and animals (e.g., insect exoskeleton, leaves, seeds).
Because it combines a variety of different environmental indicators, palynomorph analysis is one of the best tools to reconstruct former ecosystems.
Part of my research
How fast are these ecosystems changing? How fast did they change in the past? How does a slow changing coastline look like as compared to a fast changing one? How does the differential rate of landscape change affect resource availability and human occupation? These are some of the questions I try to find answers to.
Salt marsh in James Bay
Dinoflagellate cysts. Organic-walled thecae preserved in marine clays. They are good indicators
of sea surface temperature, salinity, sea ice cover, and nutrient status.
Pollen types common in eastern James Bay salt marshes