I received my Bachelor’s degree in Geology in 2011 and my Master’s degree in Quaternary Geology in 2013 at Lund University, Sweden. After graduating, I worked as a project assistant for four months at Lund University. I came to the Florida Institute of Technology in 2014, where I am currently working on my Ph.D. in Amazonian paleoecology in the Biological Science Department.
During the last three decades, the Amazon has been affected by severe drought events. Among the biggest threats that face the Amazon is the predicted increase of drought severity and frequency. The non-uniformity of the basin and the complexity of drought-driving forces make predictions of future drought events challenging. Paleoecology can, however, be used to achieve a better understanding of the response of forest to drier climate conditions. My research focuses on climate changes, vegetation changes, and the frequency of droughts and megadroughts in the Amazon during the last 5000 years.
Currently, I am working with cores retrieved from Lake Kumpak and Lake Ayauchi that lie at 700 and 500 meters of elevation, respectively, in southeastern Ecuador. The sediment core from Lake Kumpak spanned the last 5000 years and had no signs of human impact, except for the last 60−100 years. The sediment core from Lake Ayauchi spans over 7000 years and has been impacted by humans during the last 6000 years. The two lake records will be used in tandem to reconstruct the climate signal (Kumpak) and human signal (Ayauchi) of the Ecuadorean Amazon. I will use pollen, charcoal, grayscale, and loss on ignition analyses alongside aerial photographs to answer the questions (i) “Were megadroughts a part of Amazonian ecology in the past?’ and (ii) “How did the vegetation and fire dynamics respond to drought events?”
2015 Åkesson, C., Nielsen, A. B., Broström, A., Persson, T., Gaillard, M.J., and Berglund, B. E., 2015. From landscape description to quantification: A new generation of reconstructions provides new perspectives on Holocene regional landscapes of SE Sweden. The Holocene, 25.1, 178-193.
2014 Nielsen, A. B., Poska, A., Åkesson, C., and Broström, A., 2014. Holocene land cover changes and their effect on carbon dynamics in south-eastern Sweden. LUCCI annual report 2013/2014. Lund, Sweden, 26-29.
2015 Åkesson, C., 2015. Paleoecology in the Amazon lowlands, Ecuador. Geology Science Seminar, Lund University, Lund, Sweden.
2014 Nielsen, A. B., Poska, A., Åkesson, C., and Broström, A., 2014. Modelling past land use and their effects on carbon pools –Using REVEALS and LPJ-Guess. 31st Nordic Geological Winter Meeting (conference). Geological Society of Sweden, Lund, Sweden.
2013 Åkesson, C., Nielsen, A. B., Broström, A., Presentation of the terrestrial group’s result II. MULTISTRESSOR Annual Meeting (conference). Lund, Sweden.
2013 Nielsen, A. B., Åkesson, C., Broström, A., Presentation of the terrestrial group’s result I. MULTISTRESSOR Annual Meeting (conference). Lund, Sweden.
2013 Nielsen, A. B., Björk, S., Broström, A., Conley, D. J., Filipsson, H. L., Ghosh, M. Khan, Ning, W., and Åkesson, C. 2013. Late Holocene land-sea interactions and its consequences for the Baltic Sea coastal zone, Holocene Climate Change (conference). The Geological Society, London.