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Speaker: Dr Dunia H. Urrego, Lecturer in Physical Geography, College of Life & Environmental Sciences, University of Exeter
Available vegetation and climate records from the tropical Andes show that the signature of past abrupt climate changes is often inconsistent between sites. Past climate trends for many time-slices appear to be in opposite direction depending on elevation. Recently, it has also become clear that records from relatively dry Andean valleys and from the wet eastern flank of the Andes can show significantly different histories of environmental change.
Dr Urrego will present a synthetic analysis of high and mid-elevation vegetation records in the tropical Andes. Sites sit along a north-south transect through the inner Andean Chain, inter Andean valleys partly lying in the rain shadow, and along the eastern flank of the Andes facing Amazonian lowlands. She will compare all sequences on a common time scale, and explore how records expressed as percentage data and reduced to ordinated time series provide complementary information on the signature of past abrupt climate changes in the tropical Andes. As far as the accuracy of age models allow, She also explores the timing of change between sites and assess the contribution of various driving mechanisms.
Dunia studied Forest Engineering at the Universidad Nacional de Colombia, Medellin before moving to Florida Institute of Technology in the United States, where she obtained a PhD in Biological Sciences in 2006. Her PhD research concentrated in the glacial-interglacial dynamics of Amazonian and Andean forests. She stayed on at Florida Tech as a post doc and worked within the Andes Biodiversity and Ecosystem Research Group (ABERG). She investigated the drivers of long-term tree line changes in the tropical Andes. She also worked with a multidisciplinary group trying to understand Holocene climatic variability in the Tropical Eastern Pacific.
In 2010, she moved to France to work as a post doc at the University of Bordeaux within the European Research Council project named Tracsymbols. Her role in the project was to understand how environmental variability in southern Africa could have influenced the development of early modern humans between 180 and 25 thousand years ago. She moved to the University of Exeter in September 2013 to take up the position of Lecturer in Physical Geography.