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Origin and evolution of desertification in the Mediterranean environment in Spain


The project aims to integrate different and complementary
paleoenvironmental proxi-data in a context of the Mediterranean
natural ecosystem previous to human influence and the further
interactive changes undergone by human activity, in order to
understand the present day desertification trend in the Spanish
Mediterranean area.

The work is based on the elaboration of a Mediterranean
desertification model based on data obtained from lacustrine and
marsh sedimentary records. Palaeo-Mediterranean climatic pattern
will be obtained from a series of cores analyses. The specific
coring sites will present continuous sedimentary record from the
last climatic crisis to present time along a south-north transect in the
coastal area, and also towards the inland peninsula. In each
site, sampling will be made by core drilling with continuous
sediment recovery.

The comparison of the dynamic evolution between these two time
spans, i.e. previous to and subject to human activity, should
allow to evaluate the specific importance of each of the system
variables and allow to identify how and when natural evolution
was emphasized by human activity .

Core analysis will consist of detailed description of the
sediment survey of the sedimentary processes with special focus
given to hiatus, slumps, postsedimentary disturbances which could
originate discontinuities in the analyses; and magnetic
susceptibility record carried out in order to detect mineral
phases and to establish the correlations between cores.

Sample analysis will concern: 1) microscopic and spectral
analyses of sedimentary microstructures which include laminations
(annual or not), possible reworking (load casts, hardground,
paleosoils, etc.), sedimentation processes; 2) Bio-markers study
with pollen, diatoms and ostracods; 3) Absolute dating using
direct methods ( 14C, U/Th, TL, annual laminite counting)
and indirect methods (paleomagnetic events, volcanic ash level
records from Holocene); 4) Oxygen and carbon isotopes measured
on authigenic carbonates without diagenesis and on ostracod
valves; 5) amount of organic matter studied in order to find out
the biomass production; 6) Grain identification and
quantification including authigenic minerals, detrital minerals,
charcoal and potsherds.

Once all these analytical data have been compiled and compared,
it will be possible to reconstruct a detailed Mediterranean
environmental evolution going inland from coastal areas and from
south to north. The intensity of these evolutions will be
quantified throughout sequential time slices.

Call for proposal

Data not available


S/n,lluis Solt Sabaris S/n
08028 Barcelona

Participants (2)

Universität Trier

54228 Trier
Université Catholique de Louvain
3,Place L. Pasteur
1348 Louvain-la-neuve