August 2, 2023, by lzzre

INQUA Roma 2023

Michela Mariani and Matthew Jones

In July 2023, we attended the 21st INQUA Conference in beautiful Rome, Italy. For Michela, it felt a bit like going home, as she is originally from Italy (though she’s from Milan!). It goes without saying, Rome is a truly stunning setting for a conference. The INQUA Conference is held every 4 years and gathers scientists from all over the world, working together on various aspects of the Quaternary, from sea-level change to glacial geomorphology, from aquatic ecosystems to ancient fire regimes and socio-ecological systems. We feel very lucky to have been able to attend this conference with support from the School of Geography, which allowed us to catch up on great science with lots of international colleagues we have not seen since pre-pandemic time!

We arrived on Thursday 13th of July in time for the icebreaker event at the lush botanic gardens of Rome, which are a magical place to chat about science! Timing wasn’t exactly ideal, as we arrived in Rome during the hottest week of the year, with temperatures reaching almost 42°C on one day (or two!). Nevertheless, exploring the city in the evening after the conference was a blessing, with the colours of the city turning warm at sunset. To top this up, the excellent food kept us going and happy for the week!

The official conference programme started on Friday 14th of July at Università La Sapienza with a dense lineup of talks and about 10-13 parallel sessions. Michela co-chaired two sessions in the morning of Saturday 15th of July titled ‘Uncovering the environmental legacies of colonialism’ and ‘Advancing palaeoscience in underrepresented regions: promoting records of past socio-environmental systems in the Global South and beyond’. The latter included a great talk by our very own Ginnie Panizzo! Michela then presented her keynote talk on Monday 17th of July at the glorious time of 8:30am. The presentation was titled: ‘Reconstructing Indigenous-managed landscapes through changing climates in southeast Australia’ and summarised Michela’s research for the past 4 years.

Michela’s presentation was followed by our Geography MRes student Alastair Wills (one of the youngest attendees), who beautifully presented his exciting and novel project to a packed room. He also handled questions in a very relaxed way, such a natural! Later in the day, Faidra Katsi, a PhD student based in Biosciences (co-supervised by Matt) also presented an excellent poster linked to Alastair’s talk.

Matt presented updates on behalf on the PAGES 2k Network, thinking about how we can reconstruct global hydroclimatic change over the last 2000 years.

Some interesting facts (with numbers!) from the conference:

  • The total number of delegates at INQUA23 was 2783, including 1313 early career researchers
  • The total number of presentations was 3594, of which 1480 were talks
  • Temperature reached was 41.8°C on the 18th of July
  • There was 1 giant mammoth called Thelonius tusk

The next INQUA conference will take place in Lucknow, India in 2027.

To conclude, here you see a picture of some members of the Nottingham team having lots of fun in the heat whilst touring the city 😊



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