Research within the Paleolimnology group is directed towards analyses of climate and environmental changes and their causes, with a focus on human impact. Our assessments of long-term environmental changes are based primarily on the analysis of natural environmental archives such as lake sediments and peat bogs.
Many of today's environmental problems, such as lake acidification, lake eutrophication, heavy metal accumulation in aquatic and terrestrial ecosystems, as well as climate change are not spontaneous events, rather they are the consequence of long-term perturbations. The present status of terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems and, more generally, the environment cannot be properly understood without knowledge of the historical developments leading up to the present day. Paleoecological studies are essential to our understanding the scale and rate of environmental and climatic changes in the modern world. To assess the impact of human activities on ecosystems and global climate it is necessary to develop an understanding of the natural variability within these systems.
The primary themes in our research at present are: long-term perspectives on lake-water quality, based on biological and geochemical proxies; spatial and temporal trends in atmospheric pollutants (heavy metals and persistent organic pollutants); varved sediments; and climate change reconstructions. The timescales of our research span the entire post-glacial period downwards to individual years or even seasons, in the case of a current project on the fundamental processes of varve building.
Much of our research is done in collaboration with other research groups/departments located at Umeå University, the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences (SLU), other Swedish universities, and universities in Denmark, Germany, Spain, the UK and N America.