A workshop on stable isotopes in fossils and organic compounds from lake sediment records

Date & Location: 28th & 29th of July 2016 at the University of Southampton, UK

Background: Stable isotopes (with a focus on the lighter elements H, C, N, O, and S) can be measured on sedimentary remains of plants and animals. The beauty of this is that taxon-specific (identified) remains and individual compounds can be measured rather than bulk sediments. We currently witness a step-change in understanding stable isotope signals in sedimentary records, as it has become possible to link stable isotope values of remains and compounds to explicit provenances. For example, it allows the study of carbon cycling in well-defined ecosystem components over time; it provides insights in food web structure by analysing remains of organisms at different trophic levels in the food web and how they respond to each other and external drivers; it allows the study of palaeohydrology/palaeoclimatology using organisms that live in known habitats, thus identifying signal and reducing noise compared with bulk sediment palaeoenvironmental stable isotope records. Apart from highlightingpotential new directions in stable isotope studies, this workshop will also address issues concerning analytical precision and reproducibility and the need for modern datasets to calibrate downcore studies.

Workshop aims: The aim of this workshop is to clearly formulate the research areas where stable isotope techniques can make most impact. To do so the workshop will bring together those colleagues (both senior and early career scientists) that have been pushing the boundaries of stable isotope methodologies and applications over the past years and (1) provide a state-of-the-art overview of latest developments in the field, (2) identify key issues for this emerging field and a way to address these in the next years, and (3) stimulate knowledge exchange, reaching out especially towards early career scientists and scientists from developing countries. Workshop output will be a review article on this topic in the Journal of Paleolimnology that could be part of a special issue if enough interest exists.

Keynote speakers: Prof. Oliver Heiri (University of Bern, Switzerland), Prof. Melanie Leng (British Geological Survey, Keyworth, UK), Dr. Jessica Whiteside (National Oceanography Centre, Southampton, UK), Prof. Mat Wooller (Alaska Stable Isotope Facility, University of Alaska Fairbanks)

Registration and information: There is no registration fee, but please register on the workshop website. The deadline for abstract submission (300 words) is Friday 24th of June 2016. More information on grant availability for early career researchers and scientists from developing countries will be available on the website around 15th of June.