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<    PhD project – ESR 6    >

Maria Antonia Serge

Pollen-based quantitative reconstructions of past natural and anthropogenic landscape openness in two European field laboratories


MSc Natural Sciences (University of Milano) 2018.

BSc Natural Sciences (University of Milano) 2015.

Host University: University Toulouse Jean Jaurés, (France)

Primary Supervisor: Florence Mazier

Country of Origin: Italy

About Me

I’m Maria Antonia Serge, I was born in Milan (Italy), and I live in Trentino a region in the north of Italy. I love mountains, and mountain-based sports, such as climbing, trekking, ski mountaineering. I really like music, and I play the piano.

maria 2

I also really like cooking. I have parents I’m very close to and a wonderful cat. I have a deep attachment to nature, which has always guided me. I obtained a master’s degree in Natural Science in 2018 at the University of Milano, Faculty of Mathematical, Physical and Natural Sciences. The title of my thesis is: Building up a pollen-vegetation-climate-environment training set from Gran Canaria as a tool for palaeoenvironment and palaeoclimate reconstructions. The thesis (numerical analysis) has been elaborated at the Laboratory of Palynology and Palaeoecology of CNR-IDPA, Milan (Italy). The Lombard Institute Academy of Sciences and Letters, on the proposal of a special Judging Committee, conferred the award “Fondazione Grazioli 2018 Prize” on my thesis. The thesis has been presented with a poster at 10th EPPC in Dublin (August 2018), session 27 – Work vertically, think 3-dimensionally: palaeoecology in topographically complex mountain settings.

My doctoral project begins October 1, 2019, at the University of Tolouse Jean Jaures, at the GEODE’s Laboratory, supervised by Dott. Florence Mazier. In order to evaluate the effects of future climate and land-use changes on European ecosystems, landscapes and biodiversity, it is crucial to improve our diachronic long-term understanding of landscape histories and land use strategies in Europe in the Holocene. Hence, there is a strong need for spatially explicit descriptions of past natural and anthropogenic vegetation/land cover (landscape openness, type of forests) at the European regional scale and field laboratories’ local scale to improve our understanding of processes to be incorporated in predictive models for future land-management strategies.

This thesis will generate continuous maps of past vegetation cover (plants or groups of plants) and land cover (landscape units, i.e. woodland, natural open land, arable land, grazing land) based on pollen data at a European scale, that will help to understand the degree of openness and human exploitation of the landscape between and during energy transitions.

Forthcoming Publications

Pollen-based reconstruction of regional land-cover change over the Holocene (preliminary title)

This paper will present the third generation of pollen-based REVEALS estimates of plant cover in Europe over the Holocene. This “TERRANOVA REVEALS reconstruction” uses (1) the earlier two REVEALS reconstructions, i.e. LandClim I (published in Trondman et al., 2015) and LandClim II (with additional sites in particular in southern and eastern Europe, Githumbi et al., paper in preparation, and (2) additional sites from the Mediterranean area (Italy, Romania, Spain, Portugal) collected during the first half of 2020. The REVEALS model (Sugita et al. 2007a) is one of the models included in the Landscape Reconstruction Algorithm (LRA; Sugita 2007a and b). The “TERRANOVA reconstructions” will use 500 years resolution from 11.7 to 0.7 ka BP and higher time resolution from 0.7 ka BP to present. Methodological issues will be discussed using alternative datasets of relative pollen productivities (RPPs), a parameter needed in REVEALS reconstructions. Questions related to temporal and spatial changes in vegetation cover over TERRANOVA’s 3 past energy regimes and the transitions between them will be analysed.


SERGE M.A., RAVAZZI C., FURLANETTO G., GAROZZO L., VALLÈ F., DE NASCIMENTO L., NARANJO-CIGALA A., DAINA P., VALOTI F., FERNÁNDEZ-PALACIOS J.-M. (2018). Building up a pollen- vegetation-climate-environment training set from Gran Canaria as a tool for palaeoenvironment and palaeoclimate reconstructions. 10th EPPC, session 27 – Work vertically, think 3-dimensionally: palaeoecology in topographically complex mountain settings.

SERGE M.A, FURLANETTO G., RAVAZZI C., BADINO F., BRUNETTI M., CHAMPVILLAIR E., MAGGI V. (2018). Developing altitudinal training sets of pollen rain-site specific temperatures in the Alps as a base for paleoclimate reconstructions of high-altitude fossil records. 10th EPPC, session 27 – Work vertically, think 3- dimensionally: palaeoecology in topographically complex mountain settings.

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