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12th Symposium Awards

Updated: Nov 27, 2018

At the 12th International Symposium in Glasgow the IPA honoured John Birks, Peter Appleby, Ingemar Renberg and Françoise Gasse for their lifetime contributions to palaeolimnology.

The winners of the student prizes were Mark Stevenson (best oral presentation) and Linda Randsalu-Wendrup (best poster presentation). Both received Springer book tokens for $250.00.

Lifetime Award Recipient Citations

John Birks

Prof. H. John B. Birks transformed palaeolimnology in the 1980s by introducing powerful new numerical techniques that allowed us to reconstruct changes in past lake water chemistry from fossil diatom records in a rigorous quantitative way. The techniques he introduced have now become standard in probably every palaeolimnology laboratory in the world. It is hard to fully appreciate John’s legacy in this regard, except to say that his contributions and influence were enormous. Although John must be one of the busiest scientists on the planet, he never hesitates to help colleagues and especially young students as they try and understand numerical methods in palaeolimnology. His work on the editorial board of the Journal of Paleolimnology, since its inception, has been exemplary. He is a remarkable leader and role model for younger scientists. In summary, John Birks is an outstanding scientist, colleague, teacher and writer, whose influence on our field has been and is extraordinary. John’s paper can be found here.

Peter Appleby

Peter Appleby is Professor of Mathematics at Liverpool University. In the late 1970s, together with Frank Oldfield, he revolutionised 210Pb dating by introducing a new approach to age-depth modelling using a constant rate of supply (crs) assumption for the accumulation of 210Pb in lake sediments. He went on to pioneer the non-destructive measurement of 210Pb and other radionuclides from sediments using gamma emission spectroscopy by establishing a purposely designed dating laboratory, the Environmental Radiometric Laboratory, in Liverpool. Over the last 30 years he has analysed and dated hundreds of cores from lakes and other natural archives, carried out seminal research on the fallout, transport and accumulation of 210Pb in lake sediments and forged productive research partnerships with palaeolimnological groups throughout the world. His work has enabled palaeolimnologists to reconstruct the recent environmental history of lakes robustly, with due caution in some cases but with unprecedented accuracy in others, contributing significantly to our science and to its application.

Ingemar Renberg

Ingemar Renberg is a highly respected palaeolimnologist who was pivotal in the scientific development of our discipline. He played a central role in the lake acidification debate in which quantitative pH reconstruction established palaeolimnological methodology as a powerful tool in environmental science. Ingemar’s contribution to palaeolimnology is, however, diverse and highly original, covering the introduction of a range of techniques including Near-infrared Spectroscopy (NIR), bacterial spore analysis, and the use of Pb stable isotopes and carbonaceous particles. He also developed methods that improved the collection and subsampling of varves. Designing, building and improving sediment corers (in conjunction with his brother-in-law, Hans Hansson) is close to his heart! As palaeolimnology enters a critical and reflective period in its development, it is pertinent to reflect on Ingemar’s earliest work, published in Early Norrland, where he combined diatom, macrofossil and biogenic silica analyses with sediment geochemistry to show how cultural and natural landscape development can influence lake ontogeny. This prescient study remains an iconic example of what integrated, holistic palaeolimnology can achieve. A careful, analytical scientist, both in the field and the laboratory, Ingemar built up a major palaeolimnological laboratory in UmeÃ¥ and proved inspirational to the many PhD students and post-docs who benefitted from his friendly and constructive mentoring. Ingemar’s paper can be found here.

Françoise Gasse

Françoise Gasse has been a pioneer on many fronts. Her dissertation on Lake Abhé near the Ethiopia-Djibouti border is the first continuous dated African Plio-Pleistocene diatom record. She developed a large database of contemporary diatoms and associated environmental information from African lakes, which was probably the earliest lacustrine transfer function to quantify geochemical variation driven by climate. Françoise worked throughout Africa and western Asia to reconstruct Quaternary climate, and a substantive portion of what we know about African paleoclimate is based on or builds on her work. Her research commonly integrated diatom and isotopic data and is characterized both by its sophisticated understanding of the importance of basin hydrogeomorphology in palaeoclimatic interpretation and the rigour of her taxonomic treatment of the diatoms. Françoise supervised the graduate research of several well-known scientists and has mentored multiple other individuals over the years. The impact and quality of her career are exemplary. Françoise’s paper can be found here.

Outstanding Service Awards

John Glew For dedicated work in developing and improving new corers and samplers used by paleolimnologists worldwide

Judith Terpos For dedication over many years in helping to make the Journal of Paleolimnology a success

Tom Whitmore For long-term professional commitment to the running of our listserver

Bill Last For tireless and enthusiastic work as co-editor-in-chief of the Journal of Paleolimnology for over a decade and serving as co-editor-in-chief of the Developments in Paleoenvironmental Research book series

Tamara Welschot For promotion of palaeolimnology throughout the world through publishing and for support of students through long-term commitment to the award of book prizes at our symposia

Eric Grimm For writing and developing the TILIA diagram-plotting software, caring for users and offering them advice and unstinting help for many years

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