88275 - Geosystems Response to Quaternary Global Changes

Course Unit Page


This teaching activity contributes to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals of the UN 2030 Agenda.

Climate Action

Academic Year 2022/2023

Learning outcomes

Under the threat of sea-level rise and global warming, data preserved within the recent sedimentary record are playing an increasingly important role in conservation biology practice and policy. The aim of this course is to promote understanding of how past patterns of variability can aid the development of more effective biodiversity conservation strategies and ecosystem management in the face of climate change. In this course, we will introduce elements of paleoecology, stratigraphy and paleoclimatology in order to analyze how the Quaternary record can be used to understand the ecological and environmental responses to climate changes. This course will also highlight the utility of fossils in providing a reference baseline for evaluating severity and significance of the anthropogenic impact on present-day ecosystems and their biodiversity. Methods and best practices to integrate paleontological, ecological and sedimentological data for a multidimensional view of past ecosystems are presented and discussed. Finally, the course is integrated by laboratory training on the field and will be offered an opportunity to analyze environmental dynamics in response to past climatic-eustatic perturbations directly on outcrops and/or cores.

Course contents

Climate change concept; Milankovitch and sub-Milankovitch cycles; Quaternary glacio-eustatic cyclicity and Marine Isotope Stages; Stable Isotopes; Physical processes and ecosystems in coastal and marine environments; Dating methods; Basic concepts of stratigraphy and sequence stratigraphy; Marine paleoecology; Biofacies and paleobiological proxies in the Quaternary record (macrofossils); Introduction to bivariate and ordinations techniques used in natural sciences; Response of depositional environments and nearshore benthic ecosystems to Quaternary climate changes: case studies. Conservation Paleobiology.


Lecture notes and bibliographic material will be provided during the course.

Teaching methods

Lectures; Laboratory exercises and field trips (depends on Covid-19 pandemic).

As concerns the laboratory unit of this course unit, all students must attend Module 1, 2 [https://www.unibo.it/en/services-and-opportunities/health-and-assistance/health-and-safety/online-course-on-health-and-safety-in-study-and-internship-areas] online, while Module 3 on health and safety is to be attended in class. Information about Module 3 attendance schedule is available on the website of your degree programme

Assessment methods

The exam is based upon a multiple-choice/open answer written test.

Teaching tools

Video projector; PC; blackboard; Microscope; Fossil collection; demonstration of the use of instruments (in the lab and on the field).

Office hours

See the website of Daniele Scarponi