Dr Dunia H. Urrego
Senior Lecturer in Physical Geography


Research interests

Dunia’s research focuses on past 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:

Research projects

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


Pre-Columbian Amazon-Scale Transformations - PAST

According to the long-accepted paradigm the Amazon rainforest is one of the last untouched wildernesses on Earth. However, mounting archaeological evidence has recently suggested significant demographic and economic growth and the existence of complex Amazonian societies who had an extensive impact on their environment before the Columbian Encounter. PAST is an ERC-funded multidisciplinary project that aims to resolve this debate by exploring and quantifying the nature and extent of pre-Columbian land use and its long-term impact in lowland Amazonia. For more information visit: http://amazoniapast.exeter.ac.uk/about


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

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