Virtual Presentation: “Evolution of Antarctic vegetation cover from the Paleocene to the Pliocene: A review of case studies from the Antarctic Peninsula, the Ross Sea, the Sabrina Coast and the Dry Valleys”

Monday, January 28, 2019 - 11:00am to 12:00pm
Event Location: 
Leighton Conference Room (room 101), Natural Resources Building

Dr. Sophie Warny, Associate Professor of Palynology, Louisiana State University


Here we review the results of a series of Antarctic palynological studies that were conducted over the past 15 years to evaluate the type of vegetation changes that occurred in Antarctica in the Paleogene and Neogene, and better constrain the timing and amplitude of these changes. Sites reviewed include a Paleogene section sampled off the Sabrina Coast, a Mio-Pliocene outcrop section sampled on King George Island, a Mio-Pliocene record obtained by SHALDRIL core NBP0602A-5D on the Joinville Plateau in the Weddell Sea, the Mio-Pliocene core obtained by the ANDRILL 2A campaign, and a series of Neogene outcrop samples obtained from the Dry Valleys. Fossils of pollen and spores recovered at these sites provide a record of vegetation changes that occurred in each of these regions of Antarctica. The timing of these changes are evaluated against known driving factors such as atmospheric concentration in carbon dioxide, plate tectonic activity (or lack of), precipitation, and temperature (sea-surface and atmospheric) changes.

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About the speaker

Dr. Warny is an Associate Professor and the AASP Chair in Palynology in the Department of Geology and Geophysics, and a Curator at the Museum of Natural Science (MNS), both at Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge. She grew up in Belgium and France where she received two bachelors’ degrees (one in geology and one in oceanography) and a doctorate from the Université Catholique de Louvain (in Belgium) in marine geology working under the direction of Jean-Pierre Suc. She is the director of the AASP-The Palynological Society Center for Excellence in Palynology (CENEX) and served in 2016 as vice president of the GCSSEPM society. Her center, CENEX, focuses on various aspects of palynological research including the use of pollen, spores and algae in biostratigraphic studies in collaboration with the industry to the use of pollen in forensic applications. The bulk of her research focuses on palaeoceanography and paleoclimate reconstruction, including investigation of the palynological record to decipher past sudden warming events and climate variability in the Antarctic to help constrain their triggering mechanisms. Warny received a NSF CAREER award in 2011 and has published in journals such as Science, Nature, Nature Geoscience, PNAS, Geology and Gondwana Research. Warny has supervised 19 theses and dissertations since joining LSU in 2008.