Staff Profile:Dr Macarena L. Cardenas

  • In charge of undertaking the palaeoecological research for the project 'Je Landscapes of southern Brazil: Ecology, History and Power in a transitional landscape during the Late Holocene'
  • Day-to-day management of the tropical palaeoecological laboratory and neotropical pollen reference collection
  • Assist with the supervision of undergraduate, MSc and PhD student projects, and assist with teaching on palaeoecological modules.

Other responsibilities:

  • Research representative in Gender and Fieldwork Group
  • Committee member of the Research Committee
  • Technical assistant of the Earth System Science Research Group (ESSRG)
  • Coach at the Leadership coaching program
Areas of Interest:
  • Paleobotany, palaeoecology, ethnobotany
  • Understanding long-term vegetation dynamics using paleoecological techniques
  • Understanding the interaction between climate change, human and ecosystems
  • Identifying and understanding vegetational biodiversity changes due to climate change and human impact
  • Use of multi-proxy/techniques (such us pollen, charcoal, sediment analysis, wood) and interdisciplinary research
  • Understanding how the environment can influence human behaviour and determinate its social activities
Research groups / Centres:

Key Facts:

Macarena Cárdenas has a BSc with Honours in Biology from the Pontifical Catholic University of Chile (2003), an MSc in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology with speciality in Paleoecology from the University of Chile (2006) and a PhD in Palaeoecology from The Open University, UK (2011). Macarena first started working in Palaeoecology during her research in her BSc (Hons) and she has been working in this area ever since. Besides developing experience during her studies, Macarena mastered palaeoecological techniques during her work as laboratory technician at the University of Chile and later on during her work as Research Associate for the Center of Advanced Studies of Arid Zones Research Institute ( ) in Chile before starting her PhD. After finishing her PhD, Macarena taught Geology at Summer Schools and worked as a Processing Geophysicist at Bridgeporth before coming to SAGES at the University Reading to work in her current role as Post Doctoral Research Assistant.

Macarena's previous research has focused in understanding climatic events/change and human impact in Central and Southern Patagonia and on Hyper-diverse Amazonian Ecosystems. Her research is based upon high resolution and multi proxy approach using modern analogues and studying fossil material from profile, bogs and lake sediments. Amongst her previous research, Macarena identified and described the climatic and environmental changes that took place during megafauna extinction and human arrival in Southern Patagonia during the last deglaciation (c. 17,000 cal yrs BP) as well as the massive landscape disturbance that happened during the European settlement (c. 1890 AD) in the same area. On the other hand, Macarena's following research was based on the fossil record from sediments obtained in a western Amazonian profile in Ecuador that dated back to up to 500,000 years of age. The study of western Amazonia sediments allowed her to determinate for the first time the environmental characteristics of the environment in the western Amazonia area during the previous Interglacial-Glacial cycle. This last study revealed the changes of biodiversity and forest type in the Amazon that seemed to be linked to global climatic change as well as the important difference that exists with the vegetation currently present in the area. More information about this research can be found here.

Macarena's current research, 'Je Old Landscapes of Southern Brazil' is focused on understanding the creation and transformation of southern east Brazil landscapes and their relationship with the emergence of social complexity during the past two millennia. This is an interdisciplinary project that integrates archaeology, ethnography and palaeoecology. Specifically Macarena is looking at the relationship between Je groups and the transformation of the landscape, understanding their organisational regional scale in different ecological zones and their role in the expansion of Araucaria pine forest. Visit the project's facebook page by clicking here.

Macarena also values and honours delivering knowledge. She has a wide experience in tutoring and teaching at university level, including tutoring students for learning palynology and charcoal processing, analysis and interpretation (University of Chile). Her teaching experience involves teaching in Summer schools (Geology and Languages in Chile and UK), and in classrooms and laboratory for Botany, Microbiology, Geology and Language.

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This list was generated on Tue Nov 13 15:50:31 2018 UTC.


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