Dr Dunia Urrego
Senior Lecturer in Physical Geography
Laver Building 806
Laver Building, University of Exeter, North Park Road, Exeter, EX4 4QE, UK
Office hours: Term2 Week5 Term2 Week6 Please email me in advance to book a slot and minimise your waiting time
Tuesday 15:30 - 16:30
Thursday 9:30 - 10:30
Tuesday 14:30 - 15:30
Thursday 13:30 - 14:30
Please email me in advance to book a slot and minimise your waiting time
My research focuses on past environmental changes and human-landscape interactions in the tropical and subtropical regions. I study pollen and charcoal records from lake and marine sediments to reconstruct environmental change over long timescales.
I obtained my undergraduate degree in Forest Engineering from the Universidad Nacional de Colombia in 2001. Then I moved to Florida Institute of Technology in the United States, where I obtained a PhD in Biological Sciences in 2006 (http://research.fit.edu/paleolab/index.php). My PhD research highlighted the resilience of Amazonian forests to temperature change and their sensitivity to drought. Results from this research also provided evidence against a long-standing paradigm of glacial forest fragmentation in Amazonia. As a postdoctoral researcher at Florida Tech, I became part of the Andes Biodiversity and Ecosystem Research Group (www.andesconservation.org) and the marine paleoecology group (http://research.fit.edu/marine-paleolab/). My postdoctoral research showed that natural fires and drought drive treeline dynamics in the tropical Andes and that climate change can halt coral reef development in the eastern tropical Pacific.
In 2010, I moved to the University of Bordeaux in France. My research aimed at understanding how environmental variability influenced the development of modern humans in southern Africa (http://tracsymbols.eu). While in Bordeaux, I also initiated the INQUA LaACER project (http://ephe-paleoclimat.com/acer/LaACER.htm) and contributed to the International Focus Group ACER.
I moved to the University of Exeter to take a Lecturer position in September 2013.
Google scholar profile: http://scholar.google.co.uk/citations?user=GJ0yDhsAAAAJ
PhD in Biological Sciences, Florida Institute of Technology, United States
BSc in Forest engineering, Universidad Nacional de Colombia, Colombia
Research group links
Dunia’s research focuses on environmental change and human-landscape interactions in the tropical and subtropical regions. Her research makes use of microfossils, such as pollen grains and charcoal particles, to reconstruct environmental changes over long timescales. Dunia’s current research projects are:
BioResilience: Biodiversity resilience and ecosystem services in post-conflict socio-ecological systems in Colombia - NERC/AHRC
This project will examine the long-term resilience of Colombian forest ecosystems to environmental and climatic changes and improve understanding of the future implications of forest degradation for Colombian society. We focus on forests that are not pristine in that they are used by local communities and are affected by logging and fire. BioResilience fills a research gap in understanding how forests, which may be regarded as biologically 'degraded', have undergone changes in biodiversity, in ecosystem services, and in how they participate in local and global cycles of carbon and energy. The project will integrate ecological and socio-cultural research and focus on existing cultures of biodiversity conservation. This understanding is essential if the scientific evidence is to be integrated into long-term management plans and policy, as forest degradation in Colombia is strongly associated with changes to the fabric of social life, including the effects of sustained conflict.
Mangrove ecosystem functioning and degradation in a delta under pressure
This project aims to assess the effects of human interventions on mangrove ecosystem functioning in the Magdalena River Delta, Colombia. We are working with high-school students and teachers from Colegio San Jose in Barranquilla (http://colsanjose.edu.co) with the aim to foster knowledge transfer and increase public awareness on ecosystem services provided by mangrove forests. This is a seed money project with funding from the Future Deltas Initiative at Utrecht University, Netherlands (https://www.uu.nl/en/futuredeltas/project-mangroves-under-pressure), and the Strategic Development Fund from the College of Life and Environmental Sciences at Exeter.
Read our expedition blog here: http://geoblog.weebly.com/expedition-colombia
See our dissemination video here: https://vimeo.com/255247604
The origins of plant domestication in the upper Madeira River basin in lowland South America - NERC/FAPEAM
The principal aim of this project is to combine paleoecology and archaebotany to trace the origin, dispersal and phylogeography of native Amazonian crops. We are currently working in lakes and archaeological sites both in Brazil and Bolivia, Upper Madeira region in Western Amazonia. Funding support is provided by NERC (UK) and Fapeam (Brazil). More information can be found here: https://grants.uberresearch.com/501100000270/5751E9C9-B2F0-4449-84C1-536746D52BA6/The-origins-of-plant-domestication-in-the-upper-Madeira-River-basin-in-lowland-South-America
Abrupt Climate Changes and Environmental Responses - ACER
ACER is an International Focus Group of INQUA (International Quaternary Association) that aims to understand the timing, frequency and amplitude of the rapid climate variability and the feedback mechanisms involved. This will help us in understanding the abrupt CO2 and CH4 changes recorded in ice cores and inform our predictions of the responses of the earth system to accelerated climate change. LaACER is a project under ACER that focuses in the regional signature of abrupt climate events in the American tropics. ACER and LaACER have received funding from INQUA, PAGES and NERC. Read more here: http://www.ephe-paleoclimat.com/acer/Home%20acer.htm
Publications by category
Publications by year
External Engagement and Impact
International recognition, such as international research collaborations, visiting research posts in overseas institutions, involvement at senior levels in international research associations, acting as referee for national and international research councils.
Visiting scientist - Utrecht University, Netherlands. Funded by the Netherlands science foundation (NWO)
Lead of international research network: Latin American Abrupt Climate Changes and Environmental Responses (LaACER):
- GEO2230 - Reconstructing Past Environments (module lead)
- GEO3244 - Neotropical Environmental Change (module lead)
- GEO2314A - Bay of Naples fieldtrip (module lead)
- GEO2331 - Research Design in Physical Geography
- GEO3321/2 - BSc Dissertation
- GEO2230 - Reconstructing Past Environments
- GEO2314A - Human and Physical Geography Bay of Naples Field Trip
- GEO3244 - Neotropical Environmental Change
Supervision / Group
- Felipe Franco Gaviria - Ecological baselines and ecosystem resilience in the Colombian Andes
- Charlotte Durden - Ecological impact of Pleistocene Megafauna extinctions in Amazonian hyper diverse forests
- Jack William Oughton - Millennial-scale climate variability in the American tropics
- Regina Gonda - Environmental impact of pre-Columbian communities in the Purus Madeira interfluve in Central Amazonia
- S. Yoshi Maezumi - Pre-Columbian Amazon scale transformations