Hola, Kia ora everyone,

My name is Ignacio Jara and I am PhD student from Chile, currently studying at the School of Earth Sciences at Victoria University, Wellington, New Zealand. After one and a half years of living and studying in Wellington, New Zealand, I have been asked to write a monthly blog commenting on different topics about Quaternary research for AQUA.Ignacio
Ignacio in the microscope laboratory

This is going to be my first experience writing a blog and honestly I am quite excited about it. Undoubtedly this blog represents a huge challenge for me, especially because English is my second language. However, this blog is a good opportunity to write in a less formal type of English and also an opportunity to catch up with the current literature and ideas in Quaternary sciences.

My doctoral research is focused on reconstructing the vegetation and fire histories of New Zealand and Patagonia, South America. To do this, I am developing pollen records from lakes and peaks bogs on both sides of the Pacific Ocean. These two regions share important environmental and physiographical features such as latitudinal position, volcanically active cordilleras, glacial and tectonic activity and related floras; but there are also striking differences concerning their climate regimes and human histories. My study will take the form of an inter-regional comparison that (hopefully) will provide insights into the interactions between vegetation, climate change, and human activities across the southern Pacific. This work will contribute to the new, recently launched, Southern Hemisphere Assessment of Paleo-environments (SHAPE) initiative which aims to improve our understanding of the past climate change in the Southern Hemisphere. SHAPE continues the work of Aus-INTIMATE and aims to develop new proxy records and integrate with model simulations, in order to generate regional climate event stratigraphies that extend back to 60,000 cal years before present.

So far during my PhD I have looked at a pollen record from a lake in the northwest corner of the South Island of New Zealand, and at present I am spending many hours looking down a microscope counting pollen and charcoal from a peat bog in the Waikato Basin in central North Island, New Zealand.

Adelaide Tarn in northwest South Island, New Zealand

I am also helping to coordinate a recently launched Paleo-climate seminar group with other PhD students at Victoria University. These seminars are article-based discussions and I am pretty sure they will provide a great source of information for this blog. I have become aware of a general lack of connectivity or communication between Quaternary science postgraduate students from the different universities of New Zealand and I am afraid there is a similar problem in Australia. I hope to use this blog to suggest different initiatives and promote student and general scientific networking.

But of course I am not here to talk exclusively about myself. Instead, the aim of this blog is to provide a brief monthly report about new articles, comments, recent or upcoming scientific events that may be of interest to AQUA members. The emphasis will be on research from the Southern Hemisphere. But I may also comment on research from other areas if it is relevant to our region. I am very keen to receive any ideas, recent papers or references and general feedback.  (e-mail)

Thanks and keep in touch. Hasta la vista!

Ignacio Jara Parra.