Limnology Unit, Department of Biology, Ghent University
K.L. Ledeganckstraat 35, B-9000 Gent, Belgium
Hi, my name is Geert. I am attached to REAL as an ESR, based at Ghent University. I will be reconstructing past landscape and environmental changes in The Rift Valley and Mount Kilimanjaro regions based on biological proxy data from lake sediments, mainly focusing on sub-fossil pollen and spores.
I studied biological sciences at the University of Amsterdam, taking my MSc degree in august 2012. Reconstructing past changes in the environment held my interest during my studies, so I did multiple projects in the field of palaeoecology throughout my bachelor and master years. These projects included vegetation reconstructions of Dutch sites, a literature review on the causes of the Permian-Triassic mass extinction event and a detailed, pioneering study of past environmental change on the island Mauritius. This last project was especially challenging, as this kind of research had never been done before on Mauritius. The results of this study were published in the Journal of Quaternary Science.
When I am not busy with my scientific work I like to occupy myself with different creative outlets. I am a guitarist and bassist and love to create music. I have played in different bands in the Netherlands and hopefully I can find new people to jam with in Ghent! I am also a surrealist painter and writer of science fiction stories.
I am looking forward to facing the challenges of the REAL project. Working as a palaeoecologist is somewhat akin to detective work: gathering the different pieces of evidence and fitting them together to create the bigger picture. It is both a challenge and a thrill to see that picture slowly emerge and I am looking forward to sharing those results with everybody through the course of this study!
Van der Plas, G. W., De Boer, E. J., Hooghiemstra, H., Vincent Florens, F. B., Baider, C. and Van der Plicht,
J. (2012), Mauritius since the last glacial: environmental and climatic reconstruction of the last 38 000
years from Kanaka Crater. Journal of Quaternary Science 27: 159–168.