Category Archives: News

Merry Christmas to all our ARAMACC friends!

christmas-card-2016-to-aramaccAnother year has passed and, unbelievably, this will be the last year of ARAMACC and my last Christmas greeting.  Still, we have the final workshop to look forward to, taking place in January and centred around the Arctic Frontiers conference.  Watch out for more details about that very soon.

2016 featured the Summer School in Split and our appearence en masse at the 4th sclerochronology conference in Portland (our Portland contingent are pictured in the Christmas message above).

ARAMACC publications are starting to appear, and I’ve opened a page for them on the website (please help me to keep it updated).

And we even have our first PhD, Stefania, who has somehow got the whole thing done and dusted before even three years are up !!  Absolutely fantastic performance, Stef.

So, enjoy your holidays everybody.  I think 2017 will be a great year for ARAMACC outputs and, let’s hope, some continuation projects … (And the death of Brexit, sooner rather than later; I want copllaboration with you lot to remain straighforward!)

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year


ARAMACC at ISC2016 Portland

ARAMACC at Portland 2

Here’s ARAMACC opposite the hotel where the 4th International Sclerochronology Conference (ISC2016) was held earlier this month.  We can all be proud of the significant contribution that ARAMACC made;  about 25% of all talks and posters were by ARAMACC ESRs or their supervisors or people formally associated with ARAMACC.  The contingent from outside the US was overwhelmingly dominated by ARAMACC people.

Some of us were giving our first talks at a major international conference, and having done a practice session beforehand, they all went pretty well.  Question time was by no means easy, but we dealt with them well, and if there was a prize for feistiness it would go to Maria with a spirited defence of modelling that I certainly won’t forget in a hurry.  In the realm of real prizes, congratulations to Tamara who got an award for her poster.  You’ll find lots of pictures from the conference on the Sclerochronology Facebook page.

Thanks especially to Al Wanamaker who organised the conference in spite of living and working 2000 kilometres away in Iowa. I know it was a tough assignment, and while the venue was excellent and we were all comfortable there, it was undoubtedly very expensive.

Looking to the future, the next sclero conference in 2019 will be organised by one of our own – Melita Peharda from Split has taken up the baton.  All of us who have been there know it’s a beautiful venue and I hope over the next three years we can all play a part in making ISC2019 a great success!


Melita Peharda announces ISC2019




Split workshop: Science communication

Stef Maria Irene Ariadna Stella

Stefania, Maria, Irene, Ariadna and Stella work on their public engagement strategies

The Science Communication workshop was an exploration of the pitfalls and joys of trying to communicate science to the general public via a media who seem determined to misrepresent what we are doing at every opportunity.  Apparently if there is any scope at all to mention the Bermuda Triangle, the emperor Ming or spiteful murdering of aged clams, that is what they will do, leaving the original research far, far behind.  Michael Carroll and James Scourse entertained us with their own personal experiences, the take-home message being that in the fullness of time all publicity is good publicity but it’s still best to try to keep control of the process and have a site with the real story set up in case of disaster.

Ana Bedalov, who organises the Researchers’ Nights in Split, gave a very entertaining talk about involving children and young people in science, capping it off by slinging a paper tablemat across the room and brealing a glass with it.  Kudos!

Interactive exercises were very entertaining and I hope informative as well.  Some of us definitely have hidden talents as interviewers.  And selling science to a range of disparate types from professional footballers to toddlers turned out to be a piece of cake once you had worked out what made them tick (in the case of toddlers, that’s a piece of cake)

We have some very short movie clips from the public engagement exercise here (warning – these are a bit random and my camerawork is shaky):


More professionally, we had a visit from the Croatian news magazine HRT Na zahtjev (our clip starts at 27:20) 

(Technical note – the programme seemed to load very slowly on Firefox and much more quickly on Safari)

Split workshop: Numerical modelling

Odd Helge Fabian Li Juan copy

Fabian, Juan and Li with Odd Helge Otterå

Numerical modelling of climate and the oceans is a complex field, and making linkages between outputs from multiple disparate models and the data we have been working up during ARAMACC is by no means straightforward.  Where the models are similar to our data, what does that mean?  How can we use those similarities to test the models or to validate our data?  I hope we moved a little bit in the right direction during the modelling part of the workshop.  Difficult ideas were very well explained by our team of distinguished experts in the field:

Ivica Vilibic ́on dense water formation and overturning in the Adriatic; Paul Halloran with a very clear and well illustrated overview of numerical modelling followed by an introduction to the intricacies of biogeochemical modelling;  Odd Helge Ottera on how to deal with decadal variability in global ocean models can be used to address decadal variability; and the workshop ended with Eduardo Zorita covering global climate models, focusing on the climate of the last millennium.

We did also find time to take a look at our data, and found some very close and interesting connections between shell growth and some of the models.


Stella Carin Paul copy 2

Stella, Carin and Paul Halloran

Stef Eduardo Melita

Eduardo chatting with Melita and Stef (and I think that’s Maria next to Stef, but please tell me if I’m wrong!)


ARAMACC Summer School #2 at Split, Croatia 9-13 May

In a little more than a month, we’ll be joining Melita and Ariadna in Croatia for the second ARAMACC Summer School, held at the Institute of Oceanography and Fisheries in Split.  As you’ll see from the pictures below, the Institute has found a prime situation for itself right at the end of the promontory with stunning views across the bay to the offshore islands.  Right, that’s the end of the travelogue – now skip past the pictures for what we’ll be doing.

























As before, there will be two parts to this summer school, a sclero-specific part and a workshop on general skills associated with research.

The sclero-specific part this time focuses on “Sclerochronology and Numerical Modelling”; we’ll be discussing how to use sclerochronological time series as a tool for constraining and validating numerical climate models.  Trainers will be two experienced climate modellers from within ARAMACC, Eduardo Zorita from the Institute of Coastal Research and Odd Helge Otterå from the Bjerknes Centre for Climate Research in Bergen.  We will also welcome as guest trainers Paul Halloran from University of Exeter (Paul is the supervisor of Sarah Holmes who you met at NIOZ) and Ivica Vilibić, a physical oceanography expert who is based at IOF.

Our general workshop is about “Dissemination, Communication and Public Outreach”.  This aspect is increasingly important with the plethora of communication tools now available, and communication of science has moved a long way from the old model, with publication of results in blogs and open access journals making publication a much more fluid and interactive process than it used to be.

We’ll discuss the wide range of media that are now available for communication of science, presentation of science at outreach events, presentations to general non-specialist audiences and the importance of ensuring public access to data as soon as possible after publication.  Trainers from within ARAMACC will include our host Melita Peharda, James Scourse with his famous presentation on the various Ming controversies, Michael Carroll from Akvaplan-niva, and myself (yes, really!!) on the use of social media and, I hope, Eduardo again talking about the blog he is involved with, Die Klimazwiebal.  Our guest trainer will be Ana Bedalov who organizes the annual Researchers’ Nights in Split (see 20 seconds into the clip).  In addition, Carin will be joining us from Bergen to help with all parts of the workshop.


Outline of programme

Below is the outline schedule for the various parts of the Summer School and the main people involved in each part.  Dissemination in green, modelling in orange, presentations in blue.  Carin, Melita and myself will also be around for the week to assist as required


Monday 9/5 morning         

Writing a press release, led by James

Monday 9/5  afternoon

Talk by Paul Halloran on epistemological questions about modelling

Presentations of their own records by Amy, Fabian, Tamara, Stella and Juan


Tuesday 10/5

Ivica Vilibić on regional ocean models

Model-proxy comparisons using students’ data


Wednesday 11/5 morning 

Odd Helge on global ocean models and decadal variability

Eduardo on global climate models and climate iof the past millennium

Wednesday 11/5 afternoon

Interactive exercises using the press release

Talk by Ana Bedalov 


Thursday 12/5 morning      

Science communication horror stories (James on Ming and Michael on the Bermuda Triangle)

More interactive exercises


Thursday 12/5 afternoon

More interactive exercises

Social media (led by Paul B, Michael and Eduardo)


Friday 13/5 all day    

Student Presentations (led by Melita)

Each student will give two short presentations:

(i) focusing on the administration side, presenting your strategy for completing your PhD

(ii) focusing on the science, presenting a first version of your talk for Portland for discussion and a short overview of any other findings.


Looking forward to another exciting week!


Welcome to the Texel workshop

Posted by Paul

De Slufter, incoming saltwater through the dunes.

De Slufter, incoming saltwater through the dunes. Photo by Hans J.S.C. Jongstra

The next ARAMACC training event isn’t just a workshop.  It isn’t even a double workshop.  This time we are offering us a TRIPLE workshop featuring “Ecology of long-lived bivalves”, “Attracting funding” and “Introduction to R”.  With Rob Witbaard leading, this will take place at the world-famous Netherlands Institute of Sea Research (NIOZ) on the breezy and bracing North Sea resort island of Texel.  With this workshop happening in the last week of October, it could well be exceptionally breezy!

The workshop takes us from the welcome dinner on Sunday 25th through to Friday 30th October – or the following Monday for those who are braving the optional “R” workshop: the full schedule is here.

The workshops will feature some exciting and distinguished guests:

40f31b1eea426b60618702ea81201331Dr Bryan Black from University of Texas at Austin, dendrochronologist, sclerochronologist and proven expert in the integration of ecological variables to build multicentennial climate reconstructions.  Bryan will be introducing us to the use of multivariate analysis in ecology and leading an exercise in the application of multivariate methods to existing datasets.




Dr David Reynolds from the School of Earth and Ocean Sciences at Cardiff, who is currently aiming to publish the first 1,000-year annually resolved marine temperature record and who has just obtained funding from NERC for a pan-Atlantic sclerochronology project (CLAM – Climate of the LAst Millennium).  David will be contributing to the grant capture workshop.


img_2647-lavaleyeDr Marc Lavaleye, a specialist in the ecology of cold water coral reefs, will give the keynote talk at the start of the workshop on Monday.





In addition some of the ARAMACC regulars will be offering their expertise, with Julian introducing us to taxonomy and bivalve identification (useful as I suspect some of us can only identify about two species), while Chris, Paul and Rob will describe their experiences obtaining – or more often failiong to obtain – grant funding.  We’ll also – I hope (weather permitting) – get out of the classroom, when Rob takes us to sample Cerastoderma on the tidal flat.

NIOZ luchtoverzicht 1

NIOZ and the Texel ferry port

















EGU 2015 !

egu_logo_ga2015_500x500A few of us will be presenting and/or organizing the ARAMACC session at EGU in Vienna next Wednesday.  The talk session starts early at 8-30, then we have a poster session in the afternoon at 17-30.  The full session lists are below, with links to the abstracts.

And massive thanks to the co-convenors Amy, Tamara, Stella, Juan, Eduardo, Bernd and Paul for organizing everything so efficiently


Update Thursday 16th April from Vienna.  The ARAMACC session yesterday was very successful, a full session of six excellent talks (two on corals, one on giant clams, the other three on Arctica) expertly chaired and kept to time by Juan and Tamara.  The room was well filled, with many old friends coming along.  Our poster session was in the afternoon, more great presentations, marshalled by Amy and supplied with goodies by Stella.  We had a prominent position close to the beer and wine (enough said).  Photos will appear on the website in a few days.


Oral session 

Wednesday, 15 Apr 2015    8:30 – 10:15 am
Room: Y8
Chairpersons: Juan Estrella-Martinez, Tamara Trofimova


A 350 Year Cloud Cover Reconstruction Deduced from Caribbean Coral Proxies
Amos Winter, Paul Sammarco, Uwe Mikolajewicz, Mark Jury, and Davide Zanchettin

The Role of Ca and Mg in Controlling the Skeletal Composition of Scleractinian Corals
Peter Swart, Sharmila Giri, Quinn Devlin, and Jess Adkins

Daily growth and tidal rhythms resolved in modern and Miocene giant clams via ultra-high resolution LA-ICPMS analysis and image processing
Viola Warter and Wolfgang Müller

Annually resolved seawater temperature variability of the Sub-polar North Atlantic over the last 1000 years
David Reynolds, James Scourse, Ian Hall, Alexandra Nederbragt, Alan Wanamaker, Paul Halloran, Paul Butler, Chris Richardson, Jon Eiríksson, Jan Heinemeier, and Karen Luise Knudsen

Oceanographic conditions govern shell growth of Arctica islandica (Bivalvia) in surface waters off Northeast Iceland
Soraya Marali and Bernd R. Schöne

Teleconnections between proxy sites of Arctica Islandica in simulated and observed sea surface temperatures in the North Atlantic Ocean
Maria Pyrina, Sebastian Wagner, and Eduardo Zorita
Poster session 

Attendance Time: Wednesday, 15 Apr, 17:30–19:00
Yellow Posters
Chairpersons: Stella Alexandroff, Amy Featherstone


Coral Records of Sea-surface Temperature, Salinity and Density in Western Indonesia: Implications to 20th Century Indonesian Throughflow Variations
Intan Suci Nurhati, Sri Yudawati Cahyarini, and Edward Boyle

Strontium/lithium ratios in shells of Cerastoderma edule – A potential temperature proxy for brackish environments
Christoph S. Füllenbach, Bernd R. Schöne, and Regina Mertz-Kraus

Annually resolved sclerochronological reconstructions of the climate variability of North Atlantic water masses around the Faroe Islands
Fabian Bonitz and Carin Andersson

Using Mg/Ca on oyster shells as paleoclimatic proxy, example from the Paleogene of Central Asia.
Laurie Bougeois, Marc de Rafélis, Gert-Jan Reichart, Lennart de Nooijer, and Guillaume Dupont-Nivet

Reconstructing coastal environmental condition in the eastern Norwegian Sea by means of Arctica islandica sclerochronological records
Tamara Trofimova and Carin Andersson

Environmental effects on shell microstructures of Cerastoderma edule
Stefania Milano, Bernd R. Schöne, and Rob Witbaard

Strontium and barium incorporation into freshwater bivalve shells
Liqiang Zhao and Bernd R. Schöne

Incremental task: Extending the existing 109 year Fladen Ground master chronology using the annual increments of the ocean quahog Arctica islandica
Juan Estrella-Martínez, Paul Butler, James Scourse, and Christopher Richardson

An annually-resolved palaeoenvironmental archive for the Eastern Boundary North Atlantic upwelling system: Sclerochronology of Glycymeris glycymeris (Bivalvia) shells from the Iberian shelf
Pedro Freitas, Carlos Monteiro, Paul Butler, David Reynolds, Christopher Richardson, Miguel Gaspar, and James Scourse

High-resolution elemental records of Glycymeris glycymeris (Bivalvia) shells from the Iberian upwelling system: Ontogeny and environmental control
Pedro Freitas, Christopher Richardson, Simon Chenery, Paul Butler, David Reynolds, Miguel Gaspar, and James Scourse

Tropical Atlantic temperature seasonality at the end of the last interglacial
Thomas Felis, Cyril Giry, Denis Scholz, Gerrit Lohmann, Madlene Pfeiffer, Jürgen Pätzold, Martin Kölling, and Sander R. Scheffers

Assessing the utility of elemental ratios as a paleotemperature proxy in shells of patelloid limpets
Lauren Graniero, Donna Surge, and David Gillikin

Examining the reproducibility of stable isotope ratios in the marine bivalve, Astarte borealis, from populations in the White Sea, Russia: implications for biological consequences of climate change
Justin McNabb and Donna Surge

Pictures from the Faroes cruise

Faroes panorama AR


Now that we are back from a very successful cruise to the Faroes and Viking Bank, we can decorate the website with some of the many pictures that were taken on the cruise.  Shortly I will put up a page on the Pictures menu, but first, Alejandro’s Flickr page is worth a visit for some stunning seascapes (such as the moody panaorama of the Faroes above) and pictures of some of the wildlife which paid us a temporary visit before being returned to the deep …

Hermit Crab AR

The business end of a hermit crab Photo Alejandro Roman