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Dr W.D. (William) Gosling

Associate Professor
Faculty of Science
Institute for Biodiversity and Ecosystem Dynamics
Photographer: W.D. Gosling

Visiting address
  • Science Park 904
  • Room number: C3.224
Postal address
  • Postbus 94240
    1090 GE Amsterdam
  • Profile

    William is an Associate Professor in Palaeoecology at the University of Amsterdam, and Head of the Department of Ecosystem & Landscape Dynamics within the Institute of Biodiversity & Ecosystem Dynamics (IBED). He has published widely on past environmental change in the tropics and co-ordinates the "Ecology of the past" blog; where details of his current research and teaching activity can be found.

    Coring Lake Erazo as part of the XPERT field school (Ecuador, 2015)

  • Research & education

    In his research and education William seeks to place current concerns related to on-going, and projected, climate change into a longer term context by examining multiple aspects of the fossil record. He is an expert in tropical pollen and environmental change during the Quaternary (last 2.6 million years). He works closely with other researchers to gain insights into past ecosystem function through the examination of many different lines of evidence, including: fossil charcoal (fire history), phytoliths (local vegetation change), and organic geochemistry (plant response to environmental change).

    William has active research projects in the Andes, Amazon, West Africa, and the Netherlands with a particular interests in vegetation-human-climate interactions and biogeography. His teaching is focused on two courses at the University of Amsterdam:

    1. Palaeoecology (BSc level), and
    2. Environments through time (MSc level).

    Both courses are taught in English, include a strong practical element (laboratory, field and computer), and are suitable for students with biology, Earth science, physical geography, or archaeology backgrounds.

    With his personl research William supports a number of BSc, MSc, PhD and post-doctoral projects. If you are intereted in joining the team please get in contact.

    Research and education project updates can be found on the Ecology of the past blog.

    Publication list on ORCID.

    Human modified landscape around Lake Pacucha (Peru)

  • External appointments

    The Open University


    British Ecological Society


    Associate Editor


    Natural Environmental Research Council  


    Past Global Changes LANDCOVER6K working group (a Future Earth research project)

    • Coordinator for land-cover research in the Latin America region (2015-present)



  • Short CV



    • Head of Department of Ecosystem & Landscape Dynamics (2017-present)
      Head of Research Group of Palaeoecology & Landscape Ecology (2014-2017)
      Associate Professor in Palaeoecology (2014-present)
      Institute of Biodiversity & Ecosystem Dynamics, University of Amsterdam
    • Senior Lecturer in Earth Science (2013-2014)
      Lecturer in Earth Science (2010-2013)
      Research Councils UK Academic Fellow in Ecosystem Science (2005-2010)
      Department of Environment, Earth & Ecosystems, The Open University
    • Post-doctoral Research Scholar High resolution trans-glacial cycles of the tropical Andes (2003-2005)
      Department of Biological Sciences, Florida Institute of Technology
    • Technician General/Teaching (1999-2000)
      Department of Geography, University of Cambridge


    • Full publication list on ORCID.
  • Publications


    • van der Sande, M. T., Gosling, W., Correa-Metrio, A., Prado-Junior, J., Poorter, L., Oliveira, R. S., ... Bush, M. B. (2019). A 7000-year history of changing plant trait composition in an Amazonian landscape; the role of humans and climate. Ecology Letters, 22(6), 925-935. [details]
    • Gosling, W. D., Cornelissen, H. L., & McMichael, C. N. H. (2019). Reconstructing past fire temperatures from ancient charcoal material. Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology, 520, 128-137. [details]
    • Cárdenes-Sandí, G. M., Shadik, C. R., Correa-Metrio, A., Gosling, W. D., Cheddadi, R., & Bush, M. B. (2019). Central American climate and microrefugia: A view from the last interglacial. Quaternary Science Reviews, 205, 224-233. DOI: 10.1016/j.quascirev.2018.12.021 [details]
    • Duchicela, S. A., Cuesta, F., Pinto, E., Gosling, W. D., & Young, K. R. (2019). Indicators for assessing tropical alpine rehabilitation practices. Ecosphere, 10(2), [e02595]. DOI: 10.1002/ecs2.2595 [details]
    • Zhang, J., Xu, H., Gosling, W. D., Lan, J., Dodson, J., Lu, F., ... Liu, B. (2019). Vegetation and climate evolution during the Last Glaciation at Tengchong in Yunnan Province, Southwest China. Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology, 514, 441-452. DOI: 10.1016/j.palaeo.2018.11.008 [details]
    • Cuesta Camacho, F. X., Llambí, L. D., Huggel, C., Drenkhan, F., Gosling, W. D., Muriel, P., ... Tovar, C. (2019). New land in the Neotropics: A review of biotic community, ecosystem, and landscape transformations in the face of climate and glacier change. Regional environmental change.
    • Julier, A. C. M., Jardine, P. E., Adu-Bredu, S., Coe, A. L., Fraser, W. T., Lomax, B. H., ... Gosling, W. D. (2019). Variability in modern pollen rain from moist and wet tropical forest plots in Ghana, West Africa. GRANA, 58(1), 45-62. DOI: 10.1080/00173134.2018.1510027 [details]
    • Hagemans, K., Toth, C-D., Ormaza, M., Gosling, W. D., Urrego, D. H., León-Yánez, S., ... Donders, T. (2019). Modern pollen-vegetation relationships along a steep temperature gradient in the Tropical Andes of Ecuador. Quaternary Research. DOI:



    • Cuesta, F., Muriel, P., Llambí, L. D., Halloy, S., Aguirre, N., Beck, S., ... Gosling, W. D. (2017). Latitudinal and altitudinal patterns of plant community diversity on mountain summits across the tropical Andes. Ecography, 40(12), 1381-1394. DOI: 10.1111/ecog.02567 [details]
    • Matthews-Bird, F., Brooks, S. J., Gosling, W. D., Gulliver, P., Mothes, P., & Montoya, E. (2017). Aquatic community response to volcanic eruptions on the Ecuadorian Andean flank: evidence from the palaeoecological record. Journal of Paleolimnology, 58(4), 437-453. DOI: 10.1007/s10933-017-0001-0 [details]
    • Gosling, W. D., de Kruif, J., Norder, S. J., de Boer, E. J., Hooghiemstra, H., Rijsdijk, K. F., & McMichael, C. N. H. (2017). Mauritius on fire: Tracking historical human impacts on biodiversity loss. Biotropica, 49(6), 778-783. DOI: 10.1111/btp.12490 [details]
    • Jardine, P. E., Abernethy, F. A. J., Lomax, B. H., Gosling, W. D., & Fraser, W. T. (2017). Shedding light on sporopollenin chemistry, with reference to UV reconstructions. Review of Palaeobotany and Palynology, 238, 1-6. DOI: 10.1016/j.revpalbo.2016.11.014 [details]
    • Sánchez Goñi, M. F., Desprat, S., Daniau, A-L., Bassinot, F. C., Polanco-Martínez, J. M., Harrison, S. P., ... Yamamoto, M. (2017). The ACER pollen and charcoal database: a global resource to document vegetation and fire response to abrupt climate changes during the last glacial period. Earth System Science Data, 9, 679-695. DOI: 10.5194/essd-9-679-2017




    • Bush, M. B., De Oliveira, P. E., Raczka, M. F., Gosling, W. D., Mayle, F. E., McMichael, C. H., & Urrego, D. H. (2014). Paleoclimates of Amazonia: An ice-age view. In I. de Souza Carvalho, M. J. Garcia, C. Cunha Lana, & O. Strohschoen Jr. (Eds.), Paleontologia: Cenários de Vida - Paleoclimas Volume 5 (pp. 353-367). Rio de Janeiro, Brazil: Editora Interciência Ltda.. [details]
    • Cárdenas, M. L., Gosling, W. D., Pennington, R. T., Poole, I., Sherlock, S. C., & Mothes, P. (2014). Forests of the tropical eastern Andean flank during the middle Pleistocene. Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology, 393, 76-89. DOI: 10.1016/j.palaeo.2013.10.009 [details]
    • Fraser, W. T., Lomax, B. H., Jardine, P. E., Gosling, W. D., & Sephton, M. A. (2014). Pollen and spores as a passive monitor of ultraviolet radiation. Frontiers in Ecology and Evolution, 2, 12. DOI: 10.3389/fevo.2014.00012 [details]
    • Fraser, W. T., Watson, J. S., Sephton, M. A., Lomax, B. H., Harrington, G., Gosling, W. D., & Self, S. (2014). Changes in spore chemistry and appearance with increasing maturity. Review of Palaeobotany and Palynology, 201, 41-46. DOI: 10.1016/j.revpalbo.2013.11.001 [details]
    • Keen, H. F., Gosling, W. D., Hanke, F., Miller, C. S., Montoya, E., Valencia, B. G., & Williams, J. J. (2014). A statistical sub-sampling tool for extracting vegetation community and diversity information from pollen assemblage data. Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology, 408, 48-59. DOI: 10.1016/j.palaeo.2014.05.001 [details]
    • Miller, C. S., & Gosling, W. D. (2014). Quaternary forest associations in lowland tropical West Africa. Quaternary Science Reviews, 84, 7-25. DOI: 10.1016/j.quascirev.2013.10.027 [details]
    • Sayer, E. J., Featherstone, H. C., & Gosling, W. D. (2014). Sex & Bugs & Rock ‘n Roll - Getting creative about public engagement. Trends in Ecology and Evolution, 29(2), 65-67. DOI: 10.1016/j.tree.2013.12.008 [details]


    • Gosling, W. D., & Williams, J. J. (2013). Ecosystem service provision sets the pace for pre-Hispanic societal development in the central Andes. Holocene, 23, 1617-1622. DOI: 10.1177/0959683613496296
    • Gosling, W. D., Miller, C. S., & Livingstone, D. A. (2013). Atlas of the tropical West African pollen flora. Review of Palaeobotany and Palynology, 199, 1-135. DOI: 10.1016/j.revpalbo.2013.01.003
    • Roucoux, K. H., Lawson, I. T., Jones, T. D., Baker, T. R., Coronado, E. N. H., Gosling, W. D., & Lahteenoja, O. (2013). Complex vegetation succession in an Amazonian peatland. Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology, 374, 242-255. DOI: 10.1016/j.palaeo.2013.01.023


    • Bush, M. B., & Gosling, W. D. (2012). Environmental change in the humid tropics and monsoonal regions. In J. A. Matthews (Ed.), The Handbook of Environmental Change (Volume 1) (pp. 113-140). London: Sage.
    • Mosblech, N. A. S., Bush, M. B., Gosling, W. D., Hodell, D. A., Thomas, L., van Calsteren, P., ... van Woesik, R. (2012). North Atlantic forcing of Amazonian precipitation during the last ice age. Nature Geoscience, 5, 817-820. DOI: 10.1038/NGEO1588
    • Williams, J. J., Brooks, S. J., & Gosling, W. D. (2012). Response of chironomids to late Pleistocene and Holocene environmental change in the eastern Bolivian Andes. Journal of Paleolimnology, 48(3), 485-501. DOI: 10.1007/s10933-012-9626-1


    • Gosling, W. D., & Holden, P. B. (2011). Precessional forcing of tropical vegetation carbon storage. Journal of Quaternary Science, 26(5), 463-467. DOI: 10.1002/jqs.1514
    • Bush, M. B., Gosling, W. D., & Colinvaux, P. A. (2011). Climate and vegetation change in the lowlands of the Amazon Basin. In M. B. Bush, J. R. Flenley, & W. D. Gosling (Eds.), Tropical rainforests responses to climatic changes (2nd edition) (pp. 61-84). Chichester: Springer.
    • Cárdenas, M. C., Gosling, W. D., Sherlock, S. C., Poole, I., Pennington, R. T., & Mothes, P. (2011). The response of vegetation on the Andean flank in western Amazonia to Pleistocene climate change. Science, 331, 1055-1058.
    • Hanselman, J. A., Bush, M. B., Gosling, W. D., Collins, A., Knox, C., Baker, P. A., & Fritz, S. C. (2011). 370,000-year record of vegetation and fire history around Lake Titicaca (Bolivia/Peru). Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology, 305, 201-214. DOI: 10.1016/j.palaeo.2011.03.002
    • Williams, J. J., Gosling, W. D., Brooks, S. J., Coe, A. L., & Xu, S. (2011). Vegetation, climate and fire in the eastern Andes (Bolivia) during the last 18,000 years. Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology, 312(1-2), 115-126. DOI: 10.1016/j.palaeo.2011.10.001
    • Williams, J. J., Gosling, W. D., Coe, A. L., Brooks, S. J., & Gulliver, P. (2011). Four thousand years of environmental change and human activity in the Cochabamba Basin, Bolivia. Quaternary Research, 76, 58-68. DOI: 10.1016/j.yqres.2011.03.004


    • Bush, M. B., Hanselman, J. A., & Gosling, W. D. (2010). Non-linear climate change and Andean feedbacks: An imminent turning point? Global Change Biology, 16(12), 3223-3232. DOI: 10.1111/j.1365-2486.2010.02203.x


    • Gosling, W. D., Hanselman, J. A., Knox, C., Valencia, B. G., & Bush, M. B. (2009). Long term drivers of change in Polylepis woodland distribution in the central Andes. Journal of Vegetation Science, 20, 1041-1052. DOI: 10.1111/j.1654-1103.2009.01102.x
    • Gosling, W. D., Mayle, F. E., Tate, N. J., & Killeen, T. J. (2009). Differentiation between Neotropical rainforest, dry forest, and savannah ecosystems by their modern pollen spectra and implications for the fossil pollen record. Review of Palaeobotany and Palynology, 153(1-2), 70-85. DOI: 10.1016/j.revpalbo.2008.06.007
    • Marchant, R., Cleef, A., Harrison, S. P., Hooghiemstra, H., Markgraf, V., van Boxel, J., ... Wille, M. (2009). Pollen-based biome reconstructions for Latin America at 0, 6000 and 18 000 radiocarbon years ago. Climate of the Past, 5(4), 725-767. DOI: 10.5194/cp-5-725-2009 [details]


    • Gosling, W. D., & Bunting, M. J. (2008). A role for palaeoecology in anticipating future change in mountain regions? Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology, 259(1), 1-5. DOI: 10.1016/j.palaeo.2007.10.017
    • Gosling, W. D., Bush, M. B., Hanselman, J. A., & Chepstow-Lusty, A. (2008). Glacial-interglacial changes in moisture balance and the impact on vegetation in the southern hemisphere tropical Andes. Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology, 259(1), 35-50. DOI: 10.1016/j.palaeo.2007.02.050



    • Bush, M. B., Flenley, J. R., & Gosling, W. D. (2011). Tropical Rainforest Responses to Climatic Change. -2nd edition. (Springer-Praxis books in environmental sciences). Berlin: Springer. DOI: 10.1007/978-3-642-05383-2
    • Cárdenas, M. C., Gosling, W. D., Sherlock, S. C., Poole, I., Pennington, R. T., & Mothes, P. (2011). Response to comment on "The response of vegetation on the Andean flank in western Amazonia to Pleistocene climate change". Science, 333, 1825.


    • Marchant, R., Harrison, S. P., Hooghiemstra, H., Markgraf, V., van Boxel, J. H., Ager, T., ... Wille, M. (2009). Pollen-based biome reconstructions for Latin America at 0, 6000 and 18 000 radiocarbon years. Climate of the Past Discussions, 5(1), 369-461. DOI: 10.5194/cpd-5-369-2009 [details]
    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. Log in to Personal Page Publication Selection tool to manage the visibility of your publications on this list.
  • Ancillary activities
    • British Ecological Society
      Chair of Education, Taining and Careers Committee
    • The Open University
      Visiting Fellow