Environmental Change Reconstruction Laboratory

...all that happens today is the product of what happened yesterday.


National Science Centre project led by Alicja Bonk: „ Investigating fire history in Poland over the last 2000 years using annually laminated lake sediments” (2019/32/C/ST10/ 00038) allowed her to complete a research internship at wildFIRE Lab at the University of Exeter, the UK (1.09-31.12.2021). During her stay, Alicja measured the reflectance of charcoals found in the sediments of two Polish lakes, Lubińskie and Żabińskie, located in western and north-eastern Poland, respectively. The results of this research will yield to extend the knowledge about the vegetation fires intensity in the past.


Polish National Agency For Academic Exchange (NAWA) has just published a list of the Bekker Programme edition 2021. The Bekker Programme aims at the international collaboration of Polish scientists. Maurycy Żarczyński with his project “Reconstruction of environmental change during glacial-interglacial cycles of the last 1.3 million years recorded in the Stoneman Lake sediments (Arizona, USA): a novel perspective from hyperspectral imaging” has been awarded an 18-month stay at the Northern Arizona University in Flagstaff, USA. During his stay Maurycy will join the research group of Professor Darrell Kaufman. Congratulations!


As Christmas is fast approaching we celebrated this last moment at work with our friends. That was not a standard Christmas dinner but rather “pizza & beer” party… Anyway, we had a great time being together. See all of you next year!


New paper related to our ongoing monitoring of Masurian lakes has just been published in Ecological Indicators. The study led by Agnieszka Szczerba explores the potential of chrysophyte cysts as indicators of seasonal and interannual changes in meteorological conditions in lakes. High-resolution monitoring of lakes Łazduny and Rzęśniki using sediment traps, limnological and hydrochemical measurements, and meteorological data allowed us to show that cyst seasonality indirectly corresponds to meteorological conditions acting through changes in the mixing regimes, which in turn influences nutrient and light availability. The work was done in cooperation with Sergi Pla Rabés from CREAF, Barcelona. Happy reading!

Szczerba A., Pla-Rabes S., Żarczyński M., Tylmann W., 2021. The relationship between chrysophyte cyst assemblages and meteorological conditions: Evidence from a sediment-trap study in northeast Poland. Ecological Indicators, 133: 108395. DOI 10.1016/j.ecolind.2021.108395. LINK


Guillermo de Mendoza took part in a CenTrain500 Workshop (Central Eastern and Northern Europe Training Set Development for last 500-year Quantitative Environmental and Climate Reconstruction) which was held in Budapest, November 11-13, 2021. The meeting was organized by ELTE (Eötvös Loránd University, Hungary), the Institute of Aquatic Ecology (Budapest, Hungary), and the Department of Water Supply and Sewerage (University of Public Service, Hungary). Guillermo gave oral presentation “Exploring the influence of continentality on the distribution of lake chironomids in northern Poland: potential implications for paleotemperature reconstructions”.


In the new paper published in Anthropocene we present sediment records form three lakes (Dubie, Salno and Wasoskie) located in northern Poland. Topmost sediments of these lakes document that the onset of varve formation and preservation was related to human-induced changes in the catchments. Thanks to reliable dating, analyses of sediment structure and composition, and documentary sources we were able to recognize the timing of verve formation and the processes responsible. This study shows that well preserved varves in the topmost sediments of many lakes are geological evidence of human activity. Happy reading!

Poraj-Górska A.I., Bonk A., Żarczyński M., Kinder M., Tylmann W., 2021. Varved lake sediments as indicators of recent cultural eutrophication and hypolimnetic hypoxia in lakes. Anthropocene, 36: 100311. DOI 10.1016/j.ancene.2021.100311. LINK


New paper presenting the potential of biochemical varves to register seasonal climate signals has been published in Climate of the Past. In this publication, we investigate how recent developments in high-resolution hyperspectral imaging (HSI) of sedimentary pigment biomarkers combined with micro X-ray fluorescence (μXRF) elemental mapping can help to explore seasonal climate signals preserved in biochemical varves and, thus, assess the potential for annual-resolution climate reconstruction from biochemical varves. We present a geochemical dataset in varved sediments of Lake Żabińskie, Poland, over the period 1966–2019 CE. This study demonstrates that high-resolution scanning techniques are promising tools to improve our understanding of varve formation processes and climate–proxy relationships in biochemical varves. Happy reading!

Zander P.D., Żarczyński M., Tylmann W., Rainford S., Grosjean M., 2021. Seasonal climate signals preserved in biochemical varves: insights from novel high-resolution sediment scanning techniques. Climate of the Past, 17: 2055–2071. DOI 10.5194/cp-17-2055-2021. LINK


On October 14-16, we organized the 12th Meeting of Polish Geomorphologists. We hosted 140 participants representing over 20 scientific institutions in Poland. As part of the conference, 5 invited lectures, over 70 oral presentations and nearly 50 posters were presented. Professor Mauro Soldati, who is currently the President of the International Association of Geomorphologists (IAG), honored the conference with his presence.


National Science Centre project led by Maurycy Żarczyński: „Potential of Georgian lake sediments for environmental change reconstructions during the Holocene” (2020/04/X/ST10/00467) brought our team to picturesque Caucasus mountains in Georgia. Our fieldwork took time from 17 to 28 September. We collected surface sediment cores from two mountain lakes: Keltisadi (3060 m a.s.l.) oraz Tabatskuri (1991 m a.s.l.). Our team consisted of: Maurycy Żarczyński – principal investigator, Wojciech Tylmann, Bartosz Płóciennik, Jakub Chylewski, Stanisław Rzyski and Nika Tsitelashvili. We are also thankful for help from dr Vazha Trapaidze and central administration of Ivane Javakhishvili Tbilisi State University. Next steps are sediment dating and establishing of sediment chronology, followed by biogeochemical and paleoecological investigations.


New paper presenting paleoclimate reconstruction over the last centuries in North East Patagonia has been published in Quaternary Science Reviews. In this publication, we investigate the clastic varves of Lake Jeinimeni with sedimentological and geochemical methods to retrieve information about past climate variability. The investigations were coordinated by Prof. Nathalie Fagel from the University of Liege. Happy reading!

Fagel N., Pedreros P., Alvarez D., Tylmann W., Namur O., Da Silva A.C., Jana P., Araneda A., Billy I., Schmidt S., Urrutia R., 2021. Last millennium climate variability of the varved Lake Jeinimeni geochemical record from NE Chilean Patagonia. Quaternary Science Reviews, 269: 107134. DOI 10.1016/j.quascirev.2021.107134. LINK


Time is flying and our lab is five yeras old now. Traditionally, we celebrated the anniversary in the garden with a barbecue. We enjoyed excellent food and drinks listening to the country music.


On June 7th Paleolimnology Session was held at the Institute of Biology and Earth Sciences, Pomeranian Academy in Słupsk. This year, the main topic focused on lacustrine sediment records and peat archives in the coastal zone of northern Poland. Our lab presented two oral presentation and two posters about ongoing research in northern Poland. The poster presented by Agnieszka Szczerba about meteorological conditions and chrysophyte cysts was recognized as the best poster during the session!

Oral presentations:
Małgorzata Kinder, Sabine Wulf
Late Holocene ultradystal cryptotephra in varved sediments of Lake Żabińskie

Maurycy Żarczyński, Paul Zander, Alicja Bonk, Paulina Głowacka, Agnieszka Szczerba, Martin Grosjean, Wojciech Tylmann
Combining neo- and paleolimnology: last decade recorded in varves of Lake Żabińskie

Anna Poraj-Górska, Alicja Bonk, Maurycy Żarczyński, Małgorzata Kinder, Wojciech Tylmann
Varved sediments as indicators of the anthropocene: a record of cultural eutrophication and seasonal hypoxia

Agnieszka Szczerba, Sergi Pla Rabés, Maurycy Żarczyński, Paulina Głowacka, Wojciech Tylmann
Meteorological conditions of seasonal variability in chrysophyte cysts in lakes of northeastern Poland


The latest issue of Past Global Changes Magazine celebrates the 30th anniversary of the PAGES project. Since its formation in 1991, PAGES has been at the forefront of paleoscience research. Alicja Bonk together with her colleagues from PAGES ECN, Stella Alexandroff, Madelyn Mette, and Tamara Trofimova, were Guest Editors of the section illustrating advances in past global change research by early-career researchers active in the PAGES community.
Link to PAGES Magazine is here.


We are pleased to announce that the interview with Ala Bonk was published in the first issue of Past Global Changes Horizons. Along with other members of PAGES Early-Career Network, Stella Alexandroff and Tamara Trofimova, Ala shares her opinion about why it is important to study past environmental changes, why she decided to become paleoscientist, and what is the potential importance of her research for our future.
The full interview can be found LINK.


We are happy to announce that we have just received the NCN OPUS grant “Eutrophication, mixing regime changes and anoxia: tracking the responses of varved Lake Gorzyńskie (NW Poland) to climate variability and human impact during the Holocene”. With this project we aim to (1) reconstruct lake productivity and local vegetation changes since the beginning of the Holocene (ca. 11,500 years ago) to the present; (2) identify the periods of anoxia and meromictic conditions in the lake; and (3) evaluate the interactions between climate variability / human activity, and their impact on the lake environment.
We will explore and implement the novel technology of hyperspectral imaging (HSI) which allows measurements of specific and diagnostic biomarker proxies in lake sediments at unprecedented spatial resolution and in a very cost-effective and rapid way. HSI is a non-destructive multi-channel reflectance spectroscopy in the visible and near-infrared range (VNIR). This technique can be used to identify organic substances and minerals in sediments on the basis of their diagnostic color absorption properties. This approach will be implemented on excellently preserved varved sediments of Lake Gorzyńskie in northwestern Poland, and supported by wider set of proxies (pollen, diatoms, Cladocera) indicating changes in the catchment land-use and lake productivity. With our project we address the following research questions: Were the periods of anoxia consistent with paleoproductivity changes? How was anoxia affected by climate variability and/or anthropogenic disturbance in the catchment (deforestation, erosion, nutrient cycling)? How did Holocene paleoproductivity and anoxia developed during the transition from a nature-dominated to a human-dominated environment? Is the most recent time unusual within the Holocene?
The project will be implemented in cooperation with AMU Poznań, IO PAS Sopot, IGSO PAS Warszawa, Bern University, and Bremen University.