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Walter Finsinger


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Work interests

My research interests relate to long-term environmental changes, typically on time scales ranging from >10,000-10 years. I’m particularly interested in responses of terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems to rapid environmental changes and disturbances (e.g. climate change, land-use changes, fire disturbances). Thus, my main research interests are in Palaeoecology, Vegetation history, Biogeography, and Macroecology as reconstructed from natural archives (e.g. lacustrine sediments, peat).
During the past decades, I mainly focussed on late-Quaternary vegetation dynamics and its responses to climate change, disturbances (mainly fire), and human activities in Europe. However, more recently I also established collaborations with colleagues conducting research in ecosystems on other continents as well (North America, South America, Asia) to broaden the geographical coverage of my research activities. My main analytical skills are in pollen, plant-macrofossil, and charcoal analysis, but I am also broadly trained in sedimentology and geomorphology due to my Master’s studies background.

Keywords :

Late Quaternary – Vegetation history – Fires – Human impact

Additional roles and responsibilities :

– Member of the Advisory Board of the Neotoma Database (
– Member of the Editorial Board of the Journal PlosOne (role: Academic Editor)

The Institute of Evolutionary Science of Montpellier (ISEM – University of Montpellier, CNRS, IRD, EPHE, CIRAD, INRAP) has been focusing research on biodiversity origins and dynamics and the associated evolutionary mechanisms.