Records of vegetation changes in response to climate and fire during the late Quaternary in Alaska

During the past decades, palynological studies have resulted in a large pollen database from Alaska and therefore offer important information on late-Quaternary vegetational and climatic histories of the region. New climatic studies provide compelling evidence of marked climatic change during the Holocene, but existing pollen data often do not have the temporal resolution required to capture the vegetational response to these climatic changes (e.g., Little Ice Age).

We concentrate on high resolution records (approx. 10-30 years) of vegetational changes during the Late Glacial and the Holocene. We use pollen and macrofossil records to address climate–vegetation–fire interactions at our sites. In collaboration with the University of Illinois at Urbana- Champaign and the Geological Institute of ETH Zurich, sediment analysis will be linked to pollen results to assess the system reaction to a potential cooling event around 2800 yr cal. BP. The study is funded by the SNF, University of Bern and University of Illinois.

Grizzly Lake
Grizzly Lake, located in the Copper River Basin, is one of our Alaska research sites. We are conducting multiproxy high-resolution investigations to address long-term interactions of climate, vegetation composition and the fire regime
Twin Lake
Twin Lake, located in the Copper River Basin, is one of our Alaska research sites

Coring team in Alaska

The coring team in Alaska 1999. In the center Prof. Herbert E. Wright



Ruth Beer, Petra Kaltenrieder, Willy Tinner


Feng Sheng Hu and Ben Clegg (University of Illinois), Adrian Gilli and Ulrike van Raden (ETH Zürich), Christian Bigler (University of Umeå)