A couple of weeks ago, I had the pleasure of attending and participating in a symposium held to honour John Birks as he retires from the University of Bergen and becomes Professor Emeritus. The symposium, titled “At the Frontiers of Palaeoecology”, took place on 19–20th March in Bergen, Norway, and was a wonderful mix of colleagues old and new discussing John’s contributions to the field of palaeoecology and their collaborations with him. Alongside this reminiscing were several presentations describing new areas of research by colleagues and collaborators of John.

I gave a talk on the first day, which was of the latter type. I made the case for the wider use among palaeoecologists of modern statistical methods that allow us to handle palaeoecological data as time series. For the most part, limited consideration has been given to the temporal aspects of stratigraphic data, principally because classical time series methods assume equally spaced observations and our dating methods come with considerable errors attached.

The slides from my presentation are available via Figshare.


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