"Landscapes unravelled by Plant Dust: Past, Present and Future Anthropocene."

The main axis’ objectives in the next five years are:

  1. To establish quantitative pollen-based past land cover reconstructions in south India – across very different present day landscapes and at different altitudes. This of course implies a variety of efforts in terms of methodology as one method will not fit all. Thus, in addition to the well established method explored through the PhD thesis of Navya Reghu, new statistical approaches matching pollen and vegetation data and in places where the vegetation is on steep slopes trying to use vegetation relevees and or LiDAR and other finely sensed RS data are being tried. For the past data and its interpretation, a powerful long term baseline source of information on the changes in terrestrial vegetation assemblages over time comes from Marine cores in the Bay of Bengal, A a project that continues in collaboration with EPHE Bordeaux to study a new core from the Mahanadi river mouth,going back ~1.2million years.
  2. To establish transdisciplinary research in archeological sites in south & south-east Asia using more than one proxy (eg.,phytoliths) in conjunction with pollen. This includes ongoing work in south India, Sri Lanka and Cambodia and a new project to be launched in Central India and potential collaborations being explored in Thailand. Central to the Asian monsoon regime and with a very long history of human and hominin occupation, this terrain provides a powerful natural laboratory for understanding past land cover and land use changes in the perspective of the recently popular concept of the Anthropocene.
  3. To develop comprehensive research programmes centered on the reference/ resource collections – pollen, phytoliths that are interlinked with the herbarium. As a part of the second phase of the Melissopalynology and ecorestoration project, this includes research on visual and microscopic plant traits of extant plants to utilize in the past scenarios during the late Quaternary period. This knowledge, coupled with phenology, will be applied in pollination ecology.
  4. To provide state-of-the-art hands-on training in techniques as well as methodological approaches to students, young researchers and others in academia by organizing training-workshops at regular intervals with support from International research networks such as PAGES and INQUA with a focus on enabling better quantification of pollen based south and south-east Asian past landscapes.

Contact: Dr. Anupama K.