Senior Quaternary Geologist Presents Keynote at 14th International German Ostracodologists’ Meeting

Geologist taking a picture against rocky, mountainous landscape

On October 13, 2012, Brandon Curry presented a keynote address titled “NACODe (North American Combined Ostracode Database): Introduction and Application” at the 14th International German Ostracodologists’ Meeting held at the Institut für Geologie und Mineralogie, University of Cologne (Cologne, Germany). The paper was coauthored with Alison Smith of Kent State University. NACODe is a database of 7,328 sites in North America with binary data (present/not present) of 108 species with 3 or more occurrences, from 34 genera, along with hydrochemical data on the host water, some physical properties, and interpolated climatic data. The data are amenable to making biogeographic maps showing, for example, the northern and southern distributional limits of several species, likely reflecting thermal boundaries. Furthermore, the data may be used for paleoclimatic and paleohydrological reconstructions. The presentation was based on an in-press book chapter titled “The Biogeography and Physicochemical Characteristics of Aquatic Habitats of Freshwater Ostracods in Canada and the United States” by Brandon Curry, L. Denis Delorme, Alison Smith, Donald Palmer, and Barbara Stiff. Brandon also presented a paper coauthored with Shari Fanta and four others titled “Holocene Paleohydrochemistry of Two Sinkhole Lakes in Southwestern Sicily (Italy).” Brandon attended a field trip to the Laacher See, a lake that formed about 12,900 years ago within a maar (an explosion pit formed by magma vaporizing groundwater, permafrost, or both).

Group photo of geologists at Curry traveled to five sites in Sicily, Italy, with Tomasso LaMantia, Dipartimento DEMETRA, Universit degli Studi di Palermo (University of Palermo, Palermo, Italy), to collect ostracode data and water samples. The purpose of this trip was to take samples of water and determine extant species from two lakes that Brandon previously collaboratively researched with a group of paleoecologists from the University of Bern and the University of Palermo. New research suggests that a change in the seasonality of precipitation in the Mediterranean climate of Sicily is responsible for important recent climate changes. The challenge is to separate these natural changes from those caused by humans, which in Sicily include the Neolithic, Greek, and Roman cultures. While he was there, Brandon presented talks on the use of ostracode data to reconstruct paleohydrology and paleoclimate at the Granitola Torretta (a seaside laboratory of the University of Palermo) and at the Gemmellaro Geological Museum, Palermo.