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QRC 50th Anniversary Speaker Series | Jade D'Alpoim Guedes
QRC 50th Anniversary Speaker Series | Jade D'Alpoim Guedes
WhenTuesday, Nov 19, 2019, 12:30 – 1:30 p.m.
Campus roomGould 114
Event typesLectures/Seminars
Event sponsorsQuaternary Research Center

Talk Title: A deep history of human adaptation and changing climate on the Eastern Tibetan plateau

Abstract: The Tibetan Plateau experiences changes in temperature at a much higher amplitude than lower altitude locations. Temperatures in the Tibet Autonomous region have soared by 0.4 C per decade since 1960: nearly twice the global average. Combined with policies aimed at resettlement, these changes in climate are threatening ways of adapting to the unique environment of the plateau that have lasted for the past four millennia. Throughout prehistory, Tibetans have developed place-based resilient adaptations to changes in climate and have resisted encroachment into their territory by moving farmers. This talk uses ecological niche modelling and recent archaeological evidence to chart how the inhabitants of the eastern plateau adapted to a series of past changes in climate. Throughout Asia and the Tibetan Plateau, the biodiversity of crop landraces and traditional land management practices are being eroded through the propagation of an increasingly narrow repertoire of commodity crops. Ironically, these landraces constitute some of humanity’s best bet at enhancing our resilience to changing climate.

Short Bio: Jade d’Alpoim Guedes is an Associate professor of Anthropology and Scripps Institution of Oceanography at University of California, San Diego. She is a environmental archaeologist and computational modeller who studies how humans adapted their foraging practices and agricultural strategies to new environments. Jade earned her PhD at Harvard University in 2013 and carried out a postdoctoral fellowship in Earth Planetary Science where she developed computational models that charted the spread of agriculture to Southwest China and the Tibetan Plateau. She directs the paleoethnobotany laboratory at UCSD where she has analyzed material from a wide variety of contexts across China, Southeast Asia, Harappa and the Pacific Northwest. She currently directs an NSF funded interdisciplinary fieldwork project in the Jiuzhaigou National Park, Sichuan Province, China that uses a combination of computational modeling, ancient climate reconstruction and geomorphology to chart how humans adapted their lifestyles to the challenging environment of the foothills of the Himalayas. This project also involves experimental research and field trials of crop landraces aimed at improving the models used to understand ancient crop distribution and their resistance to climate change.

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