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I am a palaeoecologist and physical geographer interested in past environmental and climate change.

In 2008 I obtained a joint PhD degree (a so-called co-tutelle) from Ghent University, Belgium and the University Aix-Marseille in France. During my PhD I spent 2 years at the IMBE (Institut Méditerranéen de Biodiversité et d’Ecologie marine et continentale), University Aix-Marseille, France.  In spring 2010 I achieved a 2-year post-doc position granted from the Swedish Research Council (VR) and moved to the Geology Department, Lund University in Sweden. Further funding from VR was obtained (co-applicant) allowing me to become a researcher at the same department from 2012 onwards. In the summer of 2017 I started as an assistant professor at the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, the Netherlands.

Fieldwork: I have participated in seven field campaigns on sub-Antarctic Islands. I was the lead scientist for three of these field campaigns.

I am a member of the INTIMATE network (Integrating ice, marine and terretsrial records).


My main interest lies in Late Quaternary palaeoecology and palaeoclimatology and I have particular expertise in plant macrofossil analysis. I use peat archives to reconstruct past vegetation changes during the last glacial-interglacial transition and the Holocene. Plants living in peat lands are sensitive to changes in e.g. mire hydrology (depending on both precipitation and temperature), therefore changes in species assemblages can be used to infer periods of environmental and climate change.

I have worked extensively in sub-Antarctica – studying peat records from several islands, dispersed in the vast Southern Ocean. I started on South Georgia in the South Atlantic Ocean. Currently I am mainly working on Iles Kerguelen (49°S), Iles Crozet (46°S) and Ile Amsterdam (37°S), three French islands located in the South Indian Ocean. Climate in the mid to high latitudes of the Southern Hemisphere is highly influenced by the Southern Hemisphere Westerly winds, acting on large-scale precipitation and temperature patterns. I use peat deposits, extensively present on these islands, as a natural archive for reconstructing past changes in the strength and/or latitudinal position of the Westerlies, based on well-established and innovative proxy-methods to reconstruct past precipitation, wind and temperature changes (e.g. plant macrofossils, testate amoebae, peat humification, pollen, stable isotope geochemistry, biomarkers). Changes in the intensity and/or position of the SHW and their impact on the oceanic Antarctic Circumpolar Current, may affect upwelling of CO2 in the Southern Ocean, the thermohaline circulation, and, hence, current and past climate.


I am teaching and coordinating the 3th year Bachelor course Geobotany. In the Master course Practical: Palaeoclimate Change and Environmental Impacts I am responsible for teaching terrestrial palaeoecology. I am also teaching in the three week fieldwork course in the French Jura with the second year BSc students.

From 2017 to 2020 I was involved as a teacher in the 3th year Bachelor course Sedimentary Environments. In 2018 I co-organised a 10-day Scotland Excursion, as part of our Master program. Main topics are glacial history and geomorphology, palaeoclimate, including some visits of raised bogs and other peat lands.

In July 2018 I was part of the organising team of the INTIMATE Summer Research Training School in the Vosges in France, teaching macrofossil analysis to PhD students from all over Europe.

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Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 14 - Life Below Water


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