Environmental Change Reconstruction Laboratory

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


The polarizing microscope with photometer and TIDAS system was installed at our laboratory. It will be used to measure charcoal reflectance, which will help to develop the method. The first measurements are planned as soon as November 2023! The purchase of the microscope was possible thanks to a grant led by Ala Bonk and financed by the National Science Centre, Poland (grant no 2021/43/D/ST10/000212).


Another paper presenting the results of our monitoring of Lake Żabińskie has just been published in Freshwater Biology. Research done by Agnieszka Szczerba explores the relationships between seasonal changes in meteorological conditions and diatom / chrysophyte cyst communities. Monitoring was carried out using sediment traps, limnological and hydrochemical measurements, and meteorological data were also used. The work was done in cooperation with Sergi Pla-Rabes (CREAF, Barcelona). Happy reading!

Szczerba A., Pla-Rabes S., Tylmann W. 2023. Control of diatom and chrysophyte cyst dynamics by a meteorologically driven mixing regime in eutrophic Lake Żabińskie, northern Poland. Freshwater Biology, 68: 1503–1517. DOI 10.1111/fwb.14144. LINK


The 21st INQUA Congress was held in Rome, Italy, in the days 14-20 July. We coauthored two presentations shown by our colleagues from Switzerland and Romania:

Evidence for natural lake anoxia events during abrupt climate change in the last 130 ka in Eurasia
Zahajská P., Schouten S.J., Schmidhauser N., Zander P.D., Sirocko F., Zolitschka B., Garcia M.L., Tjallingii R., Zhou X., Lami A., Vogel H., Stebich M., Tylmann W., Grosjean M.

Two millennia of fire activity: influence of climate and people in a peat-bog from Western Romanian Carpathians
Haliuc A., Bonk A., Magyari E., Korponai J., Gogaltan F., Stache A., Longman J., Veres D.


The M4 Tornado micro-XRF spectrometer was installed in the laboratory of our department. It will be used primarily to analyze the chemical composition of impregnated sediment samples at a very high spatial resolution. The first analyzes are planned for autumn 2023, after test measurements have been carried out. We invite anyone willing to cooperate!


On 19-23 of June, Alicja Bonk and Wojciech Tylmann visited the University of Bremen in Germany. Thanks to cooperation with Prof. Bernd Zolitschka, we scanned two lake sediment cores using XRF scanner and sampled Lake Holzmaar sediment profile. Obtained results are part of the NCN grant (2021/43/D/ST10/00212) lead by Ala.
In free time, we had a chance to visit the old town, say hallo to the Town Musicians of Bremen, and enjoy the walk along the Weser River.


The 36th International Meeting of Sedimentology took place in Dubrovnik, Croatia between June 12-16. Alicja Bonk participated in this event and presented two posters about our ongoing research.

Limnological responses to human activity: an example of varved record of Lake Lubińskie (western Poland)
Bonk A., Piotrowska N., Żarczyński M., Enters D., Makohonienko M., Rzodkiewicz M., Tylmann W.

Are diatoms and chrysophyte cysts reliable indicators of meteorological conditions? A case study from eutrophic Lake Żabińskie, northeastern Poland
Agnieszka Szczerba, Alicja Bonk, Sergi Pla-Rabes, Wojciech Tylmann


On May 17-19, the 14th International Conference “Methods of Absolute Chronology” was held in Gliwice, Poland. Wojciech Tylmann was invited to give a keynote and we also presented two posters about our ongoing research

From modern sedimentation processes to Holocene-long timescales: a long way to robust chronologies for lake sediments
Wojciech Tylmann

210Pb and 137Cs dating of recent sediments from crater lakes in Mexico
Wojciech Tylmann, Paweł Etmański, Isabel Israde, Reza Safaierad, Marttiina Rantala, Nathalie Fagel

Carbonates isotopic response on physical and chemical condition of water for 50 Polish lakes”
Alicja Ustrzycka, Natalia Piotrowska, Denis Didier Rousseau, Konrad Kaczmarek, Alicja Bonk, Wojciech Tylmann, Janusz Filipiak


On May 11, 2013, during a meeting of the Polish Geographical Society, Agnieszka Szczerba had the opportunity to present the results of her research. In her lecture titled ‘Do weather conditions influence diatoms and chrysophyte cysts?’ she delved into the fascinating world of phytoplankton and its responses to changes in atmospheric conditions. During the event, attendees had the chance to learn about the direct and indirect relationships between seasonality and the taxonomic composition of diatom and chrysophyte cyst communities in three lakes located in northeastern Poland and the variability of meteorological conditions.


In a series of online seminars organized by the Varves Working Group (PAGES), Alicja Bonk presented the speech “Varves of northern Poland. The role of climate and human activity in varve structures and appearance.” For those who were unable to take part in the event, we highly recommend the recording of this very interesting speech (LINK). Alicja took us on a journey from the west to the east of our country. By visiting subsequent sites, she indicated the importance of climate and human activity for the formation and structure of these valuable sediments.


On March 23-24 Paleolimnology Session was held at the Faculty of Geographical Sciences, Kazimierz Wielki University in Bydgoszcz. This year, the main topic focused on human impact on lake-peatland ecosystems. Our lab presented two oral presentation and two posters about ongoing research in northern Poland.

Oral presentations:
Holocene lake level fluctuations at Lake Suminko and their relation to paleoclimatic changes and human activity
Wojciech Tylmann, Anna Pędziszewska, Maurycy Żarczyński, Małgorzata Latałowa, Bernd Zolitschka

Types and intensity of paleofires and their impact on lake ecosystems along the European transect (FLAMES)
Alicja Bonk, Piotr Kołaczek, Sergi Pla Rabes, Timo Saarinen, Wojciech Tylmann, Bernd Zolitschka

Preliminary results of research on varved sediments of Lake Gorzyńskie (NW Poland)
Maria Kril, Krzysztof Pleskot, Karina Apolinarska, Aleksandra Pełechata, Małgorzata Szymczak-Żyła, Piotr Kołaczek, Monika Rzodkiewicz, Izabela Zawiska, Wojciech Tylmann

Vegetation fires induced by human activity and their impact on Lake Lubińskie
Alicja Bonk, Wojciech Tylmann, Mirosław Makohonienko


Alicja Bonk was chosen to join the Editorial Advisory Board of The Holocene (SAGE), which is peer-reviewed journal dedicated to fundamental scientific research at the interface between the long Quaternary record and the natural and human-induced environmental processes operating at the Earth’s surface today. Although it is a largely honorary position, it shows that Ala’s work is recognized internationally. Congratulations!


New research presenting environmental changes in western Poland has just been published in Catena. Investigations done by Ala Bonk and co-authors show the limnological responses to increasing human impact in the region during the last 3,000 years. Varved sediments of Lake Lubińskie provided a reliable multiproxy records including changes in sediment lithology, geochemistry, pollen, and diatoms. Happy reading!

Bonk A., Piotrowska N., Żarczyński M., Enters D., Makohonienko M., Rzodkiewicz M., Tylmann W. 2023 Limnological responses to environmental changes during the last 3,000 years revealed from a varved sequence of Lake Lubińskie (western Poland). Catena, 226: 107053. DOI 10.1016/j.catena.2023.107053. LINK


Another paper presenting the results of our monitoring of Masurian lakes has just been published in Ecological Indicators. Research done by Agnieszka Szczerba explores the relationships between seasonal changes in meteorological conditions and diatom communities. Monitoring was carried out using sediment traps, limnological and hydrochemical measurements, and meteorological data were also used. The work was done in cooperation with Monika Rzodkiewicz (UAM, Poznań). Happy reading!

Szczerba A., Rzodkiewicz M., Tylmann W. 2023. Modern diatom assemblages and their association with meteorological conditions in two lakes in northeastern Poland. Ecological Indicators, 147: 110028. DOI 10.1016/j.ecolind.2023.110028. LINK


Prof. Claire Belcher from wildFire lab at the University of Exeter, UK visited our lab between January 24 and February 7. During her stay, she delivered a lecture on “Why we need to understand palaeofire behavior and how we can estimate it”. The talk was followed by a practical training component where we learned the basics of using simple computer modelling software to estimate fire behavior using existing data.
On Thursday, February 2, Prof. Belcher delivered a talk “Wildfires, Present, Past and into the Future”. Claire showed the research done by her team presenting the past records of wildfires.
Despite intensive scientific work and a busy schedule, Prof. Belcher found time to give a short interview when she explains wildfire influence on the environment. Read more here: Interview
Claire was invited by Alicja Bonk thanks to the “Visiting Professors” program at our university.


On Thursday January 26th, Dr. Krzysztof Pleskot from the Adam Mickiewicz University in Poznań delivered a talk “The resilience of coastal lakes to extreme marine influences: an estimate based on paleoecological studies from the Burin Peninsula (Newfoundland, Canada)”. This research is carried out thanks to support from the National Science Centre.