William D. Gosling

William D. Gosling
University of Amsterdam | UVA · Institute for Biodiversity and Ecosystem Dynamics

PhD, MPhil, BSc (Hons)

About

156
Publications
76,212
Reads
How we measure 'reads'
A 'read' is counted each time someone views a publication summary (such as the title, abstract, and list of authors), clicks on a figure, or views or downloads the full-text. Learn more
3,918
Citations
Citations since 2017
75 Research Items
2632 Citations
20172018201920202021202220230100200300400500600
20172018201920202021202220230100200300400500600
20172018201920202021202220230100200300400500600
20172018201920202021202220230100200300400500600
Introduction
William is Professor of Palaeoecology & Biogeography at the University of Amsterdam, and Head of the Department of Ecosystem & Landscape Dynamics. He has published widely on past environmental change in the tropics and co-ordinates the "Ecology of the past" blog: http://ecologyofthepast.info
Additional affiliations
September 2014 - present
University of Amsterdam
Position
  • Professor (Associate)
October 2013 - August 2014
The Open University (UK)
Position
  • Senior Lecturer (Earth Science)
October 2010 - September 2013
The Open University (UK)
Position
  • Lecturer (Earth Science)
Education
September 2000 - December 2003
University of Leicester
Field of study
  • Characterization of Neotropical forest and savannah ecosystems by their modern pollen spectra
September 1998 - August 1999
University of Cambridge
Field of study
  • Quaternary Science
September 1995 - July 1998
University of Hull
Field of study
  • Physical Geography

Publications

Publications (156)
Article
Significance Our results identify the prime driver of climate variation in Africa’s low latitudes over the past 620 ky—the key time frame for the evolution of our species. Warming and cooling of the tropical Pacific Ocean paced by insolation changes modulated the tropical Walker circulation, driving opposing wet–dry states in eastern and western Af...
Article
Full-text available
Charcoal identification and the quantification of its abundance in sedimentary archives is commonly used to reconstruct fire frequency and the amounts of biomass burning. There are, however, limited metrics to measure past fire temperature and fuel type (i.e. the types of plants that comprise the fuel load), which are important for fully understand...
Article
Full-text available
Background Fire is known to affect forest biodiversity, carbon storage, and public health today; however, comparable fire histories from across forest regions in the Amazon basin are lacking. Consequently, the degree to which past fires could have preconditioned modern forest resilience to fire remains unknown. Aim We characterised the long-term (...
Article
Anthropogenically elevated CO 2 (eCO 2 ) concentrations have been suggested to increase woody cover within tropical ecosystems through fertilization. The effect of eCO 2 is built into Earth system models, although testing the relationship over long periods remains challenging. Here, we explore the relative importance of six drivers of vegetation ch...
Article
Full-text available
Tropical forests provide global ecosystem services and harbor much of Earth's terrestrial biodiversity, but the mechanisms driving the patterns of biodiversity remain uncertain. Palms are one of the most abundant and most widely used plant groups, particularly in the Neotropics. Our data highlight how both direct and indirect human influence that o...
Article
Full-text available
The biodiverse montane forests of the tropical Andes are today frequently disturbed by rainfall-driven mass movements which occur mostly during extreme El Niño events. Over the coming decades these events are projected to double under the 1.5 °C global warming scenario. The consequent increased rainfall and mass movement events likely present an el...
Article
Full-text available
Poaceae (the grass family) is highly diverse, geographically widespread, and an important component of many terrestrial ecosystems. Poaceae pollen size has previously been suggested as a proxy to reconstruct the past vegetation and climates in the Amazon area, but it is still unclear if this variable can be used at broader spatial and deep-time sca...
Article
Full-text available
Palaeoecological reconstructions in the Netherlands are commonly based on pollen and macrofossil analysis, but can be limited if the preservation of organic material is poor. Phytoliths, biogenic silica, do not have this limitation and preserve in settings where other macro- and microfossils do not. Little is known about how phytolith assemblages p...
Article
Full-text available
Reference ecosystems used in tropical forest restoration lack the temporal dimension required to characterise a mature or intact vegetation community. Here we provide a practical ‘palaeo-reference ecosystem’ for the eastern Andean forests of Ecuador to complement the standard ‘reference ecosystem’ approach. Pollen assemblages from sedimentary archi...
Article
Full-text available
Despite decades of archaeological research on Jamaica, little is known about how settlers influenced landscape change on the island over time. Here, we examine the impact of human occupation through a multi-proxy approach using phytolith, charcoal, and stratigraphic analyses. White Marl was a continuously inhabited village settlement (ca. 1050–450...
Article
Full-text available
Fungal spores that grew on the faeces of herbivores in the past can be extracted from sediments and used to identify the presence of herbivores in former ecosystems. This review: (i) examines the factors that should be considered when interpreting these fungal spores, (ii) assesses the degree to which they can be used to estimate past herbivore pop...
Article
Humans have been present in Amazonia throughout the Holocene, with the earliest archaeological sites dating to 12 000 years ago. The earliest inhabitants began managing landscapes through fire and plant domestication, but the total extent of vegetation modification remains relatively unknown. Here, we compile palaeoecological records from lake sedi...
Article
The most profound shift in the African hydroclimate of the last 1 million years occurred around 300 thousand years (ka) ago. This change in African hydroclimate is manifest as an east-west change in moisture balance that cannot be fully explained through linkages to high latitude climate systems. The east-west shift is, instead, probably driven by...
Article
Palaeoecological records suggest that humans have been in the Andes since at least 14 000 years ago. Early human impacts on Andean ecosystems included an increase in fire activity and the extinction of the Pleistocene megafauna. These changes in Andean ecosystems coincided with rapid climate change as species were migrating upslope in response to d...
Article
The southwestern Amazon Rainforest Ecotone (ARE) is the transitional landscape between the tropical forest and seasonally flooded savannahs of the Bolivian Llanos de Moxos. These heterogeneous landscapes harbour high levels of biodiversity and some of the earliest records of human occupation and plant domestication in Amazonia. While persistent Ind...
Article
Full-text available
Volcanic activity impacts ecosystems sometimes with multiple, complex and long-lasting consequences, including volcanic tephra (airborne material) causing widespread disruptions. We study the effects of tephra deposition around two tropical lakes of Ecuador using a multi-proxy analysis of lake sediment archives spanning the last 2000 years. We pres...
Article
Full-text available
Covering 560.14 hectares in the south-east of Benin, the Ewe-Adakplame Relic Forest (EARF) is a micro-refugium that shows insular characteristics within the Dahomey Gap. It is probably one of the last remnants of tropical rain forest that would have survived the late Holocene dry period. Based on intensive field investigations through 25 plots (10...
Article
Full-text available
The mid-elevation settings of the Andes are important biodiversity hotspots, yet little is known of their long-term ecology or environmental change. Here, we assess 30,000 years of landscape and vegetation dynamics on an alluvial terrace located in a mid-elevation valley of the Ecuadorian Andes (Campo Libre). We used loss-on-ignition and particle s...
Article
Full-text available
Sporopollenin is a highly resistant biopolymer that forms the outer wall of pollen and spores (sporomorphs). Recent research into sporopollenin chemistry has opened up a range of new avenues for palynological research, including chemotaxonomic classification of morphologically cryptic taxa. However, there have been limited attempts to directly inte...
Article
Full-text available
The relative abundance of n-alkanes of different chain lengths obtained from ancient soils and sediments have been used to reconstruct past environmental changes. However , interpretation of ancient n-alkane patterns relies primarily on modern plant wax n-alkane patterns measured from leaves. Little is still known about how n-alkane patterns, and e...
Preprint
Full-text available
Unparalleled levels of tropical forest restoration are required to counter decades of deforestation, minimise losses in biodiversity and aid in combating climate change. Restoration projects which disregard the temporal dimension (decades-centuries) risk restoring a degraded ecosystem, as our expectations of what is ‘normal’ diminish over generatio...
Article
Full-text available
Aim Terrestrial ecosystems are changing in biodiversity, species composition and functional trait composition. To understand the underlying causes of these changes and predict the long‐term resilience of the ecosystem to withstand future disturbances, we can evaluate changes in diversity and composition from fossil pollen records. Although diversit...
Article
Full-text available
We studied twelve late Holocene organic deposits in West-Frisia, The Netherlands. Pollen, spores, non-pollen palynomorphs, mosses, other botanical macrofossils and insect remains were recorded for reconstructions of changing environmental conditions. Eastern West-Frisia was a cultivated landscape during the Bronze Age, but it became a freshwater we...
Article
Full-text available
Few studies exist that document how high-elevation Andean ecosystems recover naturally after the cessation of human activities and this can limit the implementation of cost-effective restoration actions. We assessed Andean forest (Polylepis stands) and páramo grassland recovery along an elevation gradient (3,600–4,350 m.a.s.l.) in the Yanacocha Res...
Article
Aim To (a) assess the environmental suitability for rainforest tree species of Moraceae and Urticaceae across Amazonia during the Mid‐Late Holocene and (b) determine the extent to which their distributions increased in response to long‐term climate change over this period. Location Amazonia. Taxon Tree species of Moraceae and Urticaceae. Methods...
Article
Full-text available
The climate variability hypothesis (CVH) predicts that locations with reduced seasonal temperature variation select for species with narrower thermal ranges. Here we (a) test the CVH by assessing the effect of latitude and elevation on the thermal ranges of Andean vascular plant species and communities, and (b) assess tropical alpine plants vulnera...
Preprint
Full-text available
Abstract. Plant wax n -alkane biomarkers obtained from ancient soils and sediments have been used to reconstruct past environmental changes. However, the interpretation of these ancient n -alkane patterns relies primarily on our understanding of modern plant wax n -alkane patterns measured from leaves. Very little is known about how n -alkane patte...
Article
Full-text available
Wetlands have been attractive environments for early communities worldwide. In China, wetlands offered natural ecological settings for the start of rice cultivation in the Lower Yangtze Region. Besides rice, Typha has been suspected to be an available wetland resource in previous studies at the Kuahuqiao site. Based on our pollen analyses of coprol...
Article
Full-text available
Aim: To track the peopling of the South Pacific and assess their impact on terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems Location: Upolu, Samoa Methods: A sedimentary record covering the last c. 10,500 years was recovered from the volcanic crater that contains Lake Lanoto’o near the centre of Upolu Island. Information on past ecological change was obtained...
Article
Solar ultraviolet-B (UV-B) irradiance that reaches the Earth’s surface acts as a biotic stressor and has the potential to modify ecological and environmental functioning. The challenges of reconstructing ultraviolent (UV) irradiance prior to the satellite era mean that there is uncertainty over long-term surface UV-B patterns, especially in relatio...
Article
Full-text available
The high tropical Andes are rapidly changing due to climate change, leading to strong biotic community, ecosystem, and landscape transformations. While a wealth of glacier, water resource and ecosystem-related research exists, an integrated perspective on glacier, landscape, and biota dynamics and the interlinkages of involved drivers and processes...
Article
Full-text available
It remains poorly understood how the composition of leaf wax n‐alkanes reflects the local environment. This knowledge gap inhibits the interpretation of plant responses to the environment at the community level and, by extension, inhibits the applicability of n‐alkane patterns as a proxy for past environments. Here, we studied the n‐alkane patterns...
Article
In contrast to conventional pollen records from natural sediments, pollen spectra from animal dung are less susceptible to long-distance wind and water transport and therefore have been used as indicators of local and regional vegetation, providing an opportunity to examine micro-environmental patterns relating to human impacts, especially when ass...
Cover Page
Scientific dissemination paper published in Geografie, a magazine of the Royal Dutch Geography Society (KNAG). Link to the paper: https://geografie.nl/artikel/columbus-voetafdruk
Article
Full-text available
Tropical forests are shifting in species and trait composition, but the main underlying causes remain unclear because of the short temporal scales of most studies. Here, we develop a novel approach by linking functional trait data with 7000 years of forest dynamics from a fossil pollen record of Lake Sauce in the Peruvian Amazon. We evaluate how cl...
Article
Full-text available
The grass family (Poaceae) is one of the most economically important plant groups in the world today. In particular many major food crops, including rice, wheat, maize, rye, barley, oats and millet, are grasses that were domesticated from wild progenitors during the Holocene. Archaeological evidence has provided key information on domestication pat...
Article
Charcoal abundance measurements are commonly used to estimate fire activity in palaeoecological studies; however, fire temperature is not directly measured. Reconstructing fire temperature is desirable because the ecological response to fire is, in part, a function of the temperature of the fire, e.g. crown fires >500 °C, slash and burn agriculture...
Article
Full-text available
The characterization of modern pollen rain assemblages along environmental gradients is an essential prerequisite for reliable interpretations of fossil pollen records. In this study, we identify pollen-vegetation relationships using modern pollen rain assemblages in moss polsters (n = 13) and lake sediment surface samples (n = 11) along a steep te...
Article
Full-text available
In this study, we evaluate the effectiveness of indicators for rehabilitation practices in high mountain landscapes that were aimed at increasing grassland palatability and biomass accumulation. Focusing on the department of Huancavelica in Peru, the importance of rehabilitation practiced in this area involves the relationship of alpaca pastoralist...
Article
To better understand changes in vegetation and climate during the Last Glaciation in Southwest (SW) China, we studied microfossil assemblages in a peat/lake-sediment core collected in Tengchong Basin that spans the interval 66.6–11.8 ka (1 ka = 1000 cal yr BP), approximately equivalent to marine isotope stages (MIS) 4 to 2. The results show that pa...
Data
Suppl._Info._Table_S1 – Supplemental material for Columbus’ environmental impact in the New World: Land use change in the Yaque River valley, Dominican Republic
Article
Full-text available
How pollen moves within and between ecosystems affects factors such as the genetic structure of populations, how resilient they are to environmental change, and the amount and nature of pollen preserved in the sedimentary record. We set artificial pollen traps in two 100 m by 100 m vegetation plots, one in a wet evergreen forest, and one in a moist...
Article
Full-text available
Impacts of global climate change on terrestrial ecosystems are imperfectly constrained by ecosystem models and direct observations. Pervasive ecosystem transformations occurred in response to warming and associated climatic changes during the last glacial-to-interglacial transition, which was comparable in magnitude to warming projected for the nex...
Article
Full-text available
Columbus’ arrival in the New World in AD 1492 on the northern coast of Hispaniola was followed by a suite of changes in land-use. We reconstruct environmental change from a 225-cm-long sediment core from site Los Indios from an abandoned and sediment-filled meander of the Yaque River, Cibao Valley, northeastern Dominican Republic. The sediment reco...
Article
Full-text available
European colonization of South America instigated a continental-scale depopulation of its indigenous peoples. The impact of depopulation on the tropical forests of South America varied across the continent. Furthermore, the role that indigenous peoples played in transforming the biodiverse tropical forests of the Andean–Amazonian corridor before AD...
Article
Simulating South American biodiversity The emergence, distribution, and extinction of species are driven by interacting factors—spatial, temporal, physical, and biotic. Rangel et al. simulated the past 800,000 years of evolution in South America, incorporating these factors into a spatially explicit dynamic model to explore the geographical generat...
Article
Full-text available
Nitraria is a halophytic taxon (i.e., adapted to saline environments) that belongs to the plant family Nitrariaceae and is distributed from the Mediterranean, across Asia into the south-eastern tip of Australia. This taxon is thought to have originated in Asia during the Paleogene (66–23 Ma), alongside the proto-Paratethys epicontinental sea. The e...
Data
Botanical materials. Here we list all the materials that were given on loan from different herbaria to carry out this study
Data
Measurements of morphological characteristics and FTIR chemical spectra of extant Nitraria and Peganum pollen (all morphological measurements in µm)
Data
Phylogenetic tree file of Nitrariaceae obtained from Zhang et al. (2015) and used to create the phylomorphospace and phylochemospace
Data
Coordinates of the plotted specimens in Fig. 1, obtained from GBIF, Tropicos or own material described in Appendix S2
Data
Summary table of the 24 morphological characters used to describe the Nitraria and Peganum pollen in this study
Data
Boxplots comparing the 18 numerical morphological characters used for pollen morphological analysis between the eight studied species
Conference Paper
The island archipelagos of the south pacific were among the last places colonised by humans. Debates exist over the precise timing of the arrival of people, and the duration of the “long pause” between arrival in Tonga and Samoa, and the move east into remote Polynesia. There is also a debate over the precise cause of the colonisation, with differe...
Article
Aim To determine the palaeoecological influences of climate change and human land use on the spatial distribution patterns of Polylepis woodlands in the Andes. Location Tropical Andes above 2,900 m between 2°S and 18°S of latitude. Methods Pollen and charcoal data were gathered from 13 Andean lake sediment records and were rescaled by the maximum...