Time Machine

Ice Age in the Andes

This is a video installation displayed for IBED’s Open Day (October 2017) at the Institute for  Biodiversity and Ecosystem Dynamics (IBED),  Science Park, Amsterdam University.

 

In a time machine, you can travel through the Andean past and try to follow the evolutionary path that brought ecosystems and special plants.

Did you know that pollen grains,  which you pour on your bread as honey,  can be preserved on the bottom of lakes for millions of years?  And that they are witnesses of climate change, 
vegetation dynamics and evolution in the past?

Fossil pollen from deep drill cores forms an archive.  The pollen can show that during the ice ages the mountain forest and the alpine meadow above (páramo) have rhythmically slid up and down the mountain slope.  A high position of the páramos led to fragmentation and isolation. In a low position, the many isolated páramo islands are fused to large areas. 
This dynamic has been reconstructed for the last million years and exposes part of the evolutionary engine. 

Recently, this mechanism has been described as the flickering connectivity system.