Quest members from Mainz have published an article about the analysis of lignin oxidation products as vegetation proxies in speleothem and cave drip water samples in the discussion part of Biogeosciences. They developed a sensitive method to analyse the lignin composition of organic traces contained in speleothems. Lignin is a main constituent of woody plants and its composition contains information about the type of vegetation. This method offers new possibilities to reconstruct the vegetation of past millenia since it combines the advantages of lignin analysis as a highly specific vegetation biomarker with the benefits of speleothems as unique terrestrial climate archives.
QUEST participated last year at the Long Night of Science – and it was a big success! This year we repeated and intensified our activities for the Long Night of Science in Potsdam and Berlin, and it was GREAT! As part of the “Climate Time Machine” exhibition Sebastian, Ola, and Norbert presented how we use stalagmites as palaeoclimate archives. To be better visible, we built a life-sized speleologist (cave researcher) and let him climb the stairways in the Michelson building (the main PIK building). We presented all the typical cave research stuff, caving gear, data loggers, surveying instruments, photographs of caves and active cave research, and selected stalagmite samples from our QUEST project. We received large interest, from interested researchers, parents and kids alike. The whole event was great fun and it was amazing to see that we can enthuse young pupils for our science. Science is much more than just numbers and computer models – and in our case really muddy, adventurous, and sportive.
Long Night of Science 2018