Institute for Biodiversity and Ecosystem Dynamics

Photographer: Crystal Mc Michael

dr. C.N.H. (Crystal) McMichael


  • Faculty of Science
    IBED
  • Visiting address
    Science Park A
    Science Park 904  Amsterdam
    Room number: C4.168
  • Postal address:
    Postbus  94248
    1090 GE  Amsterdam
  • C.N.H.McMichael@uva.nl
    T: 0205257316

Crystal is an Assistant Professor at the University of Amsterdam, in the   Palaeoecology & Landscape Ecology (P&L) group within the  Institute of Biodiversity & Ecosystem Dynamics (IBED). She has published most frequently on aspects of palaeoecology in the Amazon Basin, but also has research projects outside of Amazonia. More details on previous research can be found at: 

http://www.fit.edu/faculty/profiles/profile.php?tracks=cmcmicha

More details of her current research can be found on the 'Research Focus' tab

  • Pre-Columbian impacts in Amazonian forests
  • Palaeoecology of tropical forest systems 
  • Pollen distribution mapping
  • Using remote sensing to detect archaeological features under forest canopies
  • Timing and transition to maize agriculture in the Michigan/Great Lakes region

 

My primary research focus involves spatial and temporal analyses of pre-Columbian impacts in Amazonian forests. For years it was thought that Amazonia had been a ‘pristine forest’ until Europeans arrived to the American continent in 1492 A.D. However, archaeologists have recently uncovered evidence of large and sedentary occupation sites in several regions of the Basin. My research uses soil charcoal, phytoliths, and ecological modeling, and remote sensing to predict when, where, and at what intensity the Amazon rainforest was modified or transformed prior to European contact. New and upcoming research will also include examining whether pre-Columbian settlement patterns are associated with specific forest types within Amazonia, or whether the forest types are legacies of pre-Columbian civilizations.

I am working on parallel projects in Central and South America involving high-resolution reconstructions of paleo-climate and vegetation change using pollen and charcoal analyses. To fully analyze past climate and vegetation patterns, an understanding of modern climate-vegetation relationships is needed. The major limitation in calibrating the modern dataset with paleo-datasets is pollen identification, which is currently possible only to the family or genus level. I am involved with a collaborative effort to improve pollen taxonomy using light and SEM microscopy. We will use this improved taxonomic resolution for detecting decadal-scale responses of vegetation to drought events and other natural disturbances. We will also use these methodological improvements to create transfer functions that quantitatively predict temperature and precipitation regimes for the last 2000 years across Central and South America.

I am also involved in projects that involve modeling archaeological and paleoecological data within the United States. One project involves examining the timing and spread of maize agriculture in the Midwest/Great Lakes region of the US. This is an interdisciplinary project with a team of archaeologists and remote sensing experts from the University of New Hampshire and Florida Institute of Technology. We are predicting the timing and spatial patterns of pre-Columbian maize agriculture and earthwork formation across the region based on existing archaeological and paleoecological datasets and remotely sensed data. We will then test the predictive models with field-collected paleoecological and archaeological data. 

Piperno, D.R., McMichael, C.H., Bush, M.B. (2015) Amazonia and the Anthropocene: What was the spatial extent and intensity of human landscape modification in the Amazon Basin at the end of prehistory? The Holocene. DOI: 10.1177/0959683615588374

Thomas, E., Alcazar, C., McMichael, C.H., Corvera, R., Loo, J. (2015) Uncovering spatial patterns in the natural and human history of Brazil nut (Bertholletia excelsa) across the Amazon Basin. Journal of Biogeography. 42: 1367-1382. 

Howey, M. C., Palace, M.W., McMichael, C.H., Braswell, B. (2014). "Moderate-Resolution Remote Sensing and Geospatial Analyses of Microclimates, Mounds, and Maize in the Northern Great Lakes." Advances in Archaeological Practice: A Journal of the Society for American Archaeology 2(3): 195-207.

McMichael, C.H., Palace, M.W., Golightly, M. (2014) Bamboo-dominated forests and pre-Columbian earthwork formations in south-western Amazonia. Journal of Biogeography. 41(9): 1733-1745.

Bush, M.B., McMichael, C., Raczka, M.F., Toledo, M.B., Power, M.J., Mayle, F.E., de Oliveira, P.E. (2014) The Holocene of the Amazon. In: Paleoclimas - Série Paleontologia: Cenários de Vida. Ed: Interciência. v. 5, p. 357-372.

Bush, M.B., Raczka, M.F., de Oliveira, P.E., Gosling, W.D., Mayle, F.E., Urrego, D.H., McMichael, C. (2014) Amazonia: An ice-age view. In: Paleoclimas - Série Paleontologia: Cenários de Vida. Ed: Interciência. v. 5, p. 341-356

McMichael, C.H., Palace, M.W., Bush, M.B., Braswell, B., Hagen, S., Neves, E.G., Silman, M.R., Tamanaha, E.K. & Czarnecki, C. (2014) Predicting pre-Columbian anthropogenic soils in Amazonia. Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, 281, 20132475.

McMichael, C.H., Bush, M.B., Silman, M.R., Piperno, D.R., Raczka, M., Lobato, L.C., Zimmerman, M., Hagen, S. & Palace, M. (2013) Historical fire and bamboo dynamics in western Amazonia. Journal of Biogeography, 40, 299-309.

Urrego, D.H., Bush, M.B., Silman, M.R., Niccum, B.A., De La Rosa, P., McMichael, C.H., Hagen, S. & Palace, M. (2013) Holocene fires, forest stability and human occupation in south-western Amazonia. Journal of Biogeography, 40, 521-533.

Raczka, M.F., Oliveira, P., Bush, M.B. & McMichael, C.H. (2013) Two paleoecological histories spanning the period of human settlement in southeastern Brazil. Journal of Quaternary Science, 28, 144-151.

Hwang, G.M., Riley, K.C., Christou, C.T., Jacyna, G.M., Woodard, J.P., Ryan, R.M., Bush, M.B., Valencia, B.G., McMichael, C.N. & Punyasena, S.W. (2013) Automated pollen identification system for forensic geo-historical location applications. Technologies for Homeland Security (HST), 2013 IEEE International Conference on (ed by, pp. 297-303.

McMichael, C., Piperno, D.R., Bush, M.B., Silman, M.R., Zimmerman, A.R., Raczka, M.F. & Lobato, L.C. (2012) Sparse pre-Columbian human habitation in western Amazonia. Science, 336, 1429-1431.

McMichael, C.H., Correa Metrio, A. & Bush, M.B. (2012) Pre-Columbian fire regimes in lowland tropical rainforests of southeastern Peru. Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology, 342-343, 73-83.

McMichael, C., Bush, M.B., Piperno, D., Silman, M.R., Zimmerman, A.R. & Anderson, C. (2012) Scales of pre-Columbian disturbance associated with western Amazonian lakes. The Holocene, 22, 131-141.

Bush, M.B., Silman, M.R., McMichael, C. & Saatchi, S. (2008) Fire, climate change, and biodiversity in Amazonia: a late-Holocene perspective. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B, 363, 1795-1802.

 

2017

  • McMichael, C. N. H., Matthews-Bird, F., Farfan-Rios, W., & Feeley, K. J. (2017). Ancient human disturbances may be skewing our understanding of Amazonian forests. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 114(3), 522-527. DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1614577114 [details]
  • Bush, M. B., Correa-Metrio, A., van Woesik, R., Shadik, C. R., & McMichael, C. N. H. (2017). Human disturbance amplifies Amazonian El Niño-Southern Oscillation signal. Global Change Biology, 23(8), 3181-3192. DOI: 10.1111/gcb.13608 [details]

2016

  • Bush, M. B., Correa-Metrio, A., McMichael, C. H., Sully, S., Shadik, C. R., Valencia, B. G., ... Overpeck, J. T. (2016). A 6900-year history of landscape modification by humans in lowland Amazonia. Quaternary Science Reviews, 141, 52-64. DOI: 10.1016/j.quascirev.2016.03.022 [details]
  • Bush, M. B., & McMichael, C. N. H. (2016). Holocene variability of an Amazonian hyperdominant. Journal of Ecology, 104(5), 1370-1378. DOI: 10.1111/1365-2745.12600 [details]
  • Howey, M. C. L., Palace, M. W., & McMichael, C. H. (2016). Geospatial modeling approach to monument construction using Michigan from A.D. 1000-1600 as a case study. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 113(27), 7443-7448. DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1603450113 [details / files]
  • Raczka, M. F., Bush, M. B., Folcik, A. M., & McMichael, C. H. (2016). Sporormiella as a tool for detecting the presence of large herbivores in the Neotropics. BIOTA NEOTROPICA, 16(1). DOI: 10.1590/1676-0611-BN-2015-0090 [details]

2015

  • McMichael, C. H., Piperno, D. R., & Bush, M. B. (2015). Comment on Clement et al. 2015 "The domestication of Amazonia before European conquest". Proceedings of the Royal Society B-Biological Sciences, 282(1821), [1837]. DOI: 10.1098/rspb.2015.1837 [details]
  • McMichael, C. N. H., Piperno, D. R., Neves, E. G., Bush, M. B., Almeida, F. O., Mongelo, G., & Eyjolfsdottir, M. B. (2015). Phytolith assemblages along a gradient of ancient human disturbance in western Amazonia. Frontiers in Ecology and Evolution, 3, [141]. DOI: 10.3389/fevo.2015.00141 [details] [PDF]
  • Bush, M. B., McMichael, C. H., Piperno, D. R., Silman, M. R., Barlow, J., Peres, C. A., ... Palace, M. W. (2015). Anthropogenic influence on Amazonian forests in prehistory: An ecological perspective. Journal of Biogeography, 42(12), 2277-2288. DOI: 10.1111/jbi.12638 [details]
  • Piperno, D. R., McMichael, C., & Bush, M. B. (2015). Amazonia and the Anthropocene: What was the spatial extent and intensity of human landscape modification in the Amazon Basin at the end of prehistory? Holocene, 25(10), 1588-1597. DOI: 10.1177/0959683615588374 [details]
  • Thomas, E., Alcázar Caicedo, C., McMichael, C. H., Corvera, R., & Loo, J. (2015). Uncovering spatial patterns in the natural and human history of Brazil nut (Bertholletia excelsa) across the Amazon Basin. Journal of Biogeography, 42(8), 1367-1382. DOI: 10.1111/jbi.12540 [details]

2014

  • McMichael, C. H., Palace, M. W., Bush, M. B., Braswell, B., Hagen, S., Neves, E. G., ... Czarnecki, C. (2014). Predicting pre-Columbian anthropogenic soils in Amazonia. Proceedings of the Royal Society B-Biological Sciences, 281(1777), [20132696]. DOI: 10.1098/rspb.2013.2475 [details]
  • McMichael, C. N. H., Palace, M. W., & Golightly, M. (2014). Bamboo-dominated forests and pre-Columbian earthwork formations in south-western Amazonia. Journal of Biogeography, 41(9), 1733-1745. DOI: 10.1111/jbi.12325 [details]
  • McMichael, C. N. H., Palace, M. W., Bush, M. B., Braswell, B., Hagen, S., Neves, E. G., ... Czarnecki, C. (2014). Unmodified pre-Columbian soils in western Amazonia. Proceedings of the Royal Society B-Biological Sciences, 281, 20132475. [details]
  • Howey, M. C., Palace, M. W., McMichael, C. N. H., & Braswell, B. (2014). Moderate-resolution remote sensing and geospatial analyes of microclimates, mounds, and maize in the Northern Great Lakes. Advances in Archaeological Practice, 2(3), 195-207. [details]

2013

  • McMichael, C. N. H., Bush, M. B., Silman, M. R., Piperno, D. R., Raczka, M. F., Lobato, L. C., ... Palace, M. W. (2013). Historical fire and bamboo dynamics in western Amazonia. Journal of Biogeography, 40, 299-309. DOI: 10.1111/jbi.12002 [details]
  • Hwang, G., Riley, K., Christou, C. T., Jacyna, G. M., Woodard, J. P., Ryan, R., ... Punyasena, S. (2013). Automated pollen identification system for forensic geo-historical location applications. In Technologies for Homeland Security  [details]
  • Raczka, M. F., de Oliveira, P., Bush, M. B., & McMichael, C. N. H. (2013). Two paleoecological histories spanning the period of human settlement in southeastern Brazil. Journal of Quaternary Science, 28, 144-151. DOI: 10.1002/jqs.2597 [details]
  • Urrego, D. H., Bush, M. B., Silman, M. R., Niccum, B., de la Rosa, P., McMichael, C. N. H., ... Palace, M. W. (2013). Holocene fires, forest stability, and human occupation in south-western Amazonia. Journal of Biogeography, 40, 521-533. DOI: 10.1111/jbi.12016 [details]

2012

  • McMichael, C. N. H., Bush, M. B., Piperno, D. R., Silman, M. R., & Zimmerman, A. (2012). Scales of pre-Columbian disturbance associated with western Amazonian lakes. Holocene, 22, 131-141. DOI: 10.1177/0959683611414932 [details]
  • McMichael, C. N. H., Correa-Metrio, A., & Bush, M. B. (2012). Pre-Columbian fire regimes in lowland tropical forests of southeaster Peru. Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology, 342-343, 73-83. DOI: 10.1016/j.palaeo.2012.05.004 [details]
  • McMichael, C. N. H., Piperno, D. R., Bush, M. B., Silman, M. R., Zimmermann, A., Raczka, M. F., & Lobato, L. C. (2012). Sparse pre-Columbian human habitation in western Amazonia. Science, 336, 1429-1431. DOI: 10.1126/science.1219982 [details]

2008

  • Bush, M. B., Silman, M. R., McMichael, C. N. H., & Saatchi, S. (2008). Fire, climate change and biodiversity in Amazonia: a Late-Holocene perspective. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B - Biological Sciences, 363(1498), 1795-1802. DOI: 10.1098/rstb.2007.0014 [details]

2017

  • Piperno, D. R., McMichael, C., & Bush, M. B. (2017). Further evidence for localized, short-term anthropogenic forest alterations across pre-Columbian Amazonia. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 114(21), E4118-E4119. DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1705585114 [details]

2014

  • Bush, M. B., Raczka, M. F., de Oliveira, P., Gosling, W. D., Mayle, F. E., Urrego, D. H., & McMichael, C. N. H. (2014). Amazonia: an ice-age view. In Paleoclimas - Série Paleontologia: Cenários de Vida. (pp. 341-356). Sao Paulo, Brazil: Interciência. [details]
  • Bush, M. B., McMichael, C. N. H., Raczka, M. F., de Toledo, M. B., Power, M. J., Mayle, F. E., & de Oliveira, P. (2014). The Holocene of the Amazon. In Paleoclimas - Série Paleontologia: Cenários de Vida Sao Paulo, Brazil: Interciência. [details]

2015

  • McMichael, C. (2015). Book Review: Cultural Forests of the Amazon: A Historical Ecology of People and Their Landscapes [Review of: W. Balée (2013). University of Alabama Press, 2014. 288 pp. ISBN 978-0-8173-7; Ebook ISBN 978-0-0173-8655-9. Biological Conservation, 182, 286-287. DOI: 10.1016/j.biocon.2014.10.029 [details]

2016

  • Raczka, M. F., Bush, M. B., Folcik, A. M., & McMichael, C. N. H. (2016). Coprophilous fungi Sporormiella as a proxy for modern herbivores presence in the Neotropics[details]
  • Sales, R., McMichael, C. N. H., & Bush, M. B. (2016). Climate and human influences in Michigan paleoecosystems. Poster session presented at Ecological Society of America, Ft. Lauderdale, Florida, United States. [details]
  • Schiferl, J., Bush, M. B., & McMichael, C. N. H. (2016). A paleoecological analysis of Lake Palotoa, Peru. Poster session presented at Ecological Society of America, Ft. Lauderdale, Florida, United States. [details]

Keynote / Invited lecture

  • McMichael, Crystal (speaker) (13-8-2016): The effects of ancient human disturbance on Amazonian vegetation, Ecological Society of America.
  • McMichael, Crystal (speaker) (23-6-2016): Holocene Variability of an Amazonian Hyperdominant, Association for Tropical Biology and Conservation.
  • McMichael, Crystal (speaker) (25-2-2016): Phytolith signatures along a gradient of ancient human disturbance in western Amazonia, European Conference of Tropical Ecology, Germany.
  • McMichael, Crystal (speaker) (29-9-2015): The effects of ancient human disturbance on Amazonian vegetation, Wageningen UR.
This list of publications is extracted from the UvA-Current Research Information System. Questions? Ask the library or the Pure staff of your faculty / institute. Log in to Pure to edit your publications.
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