Earth Observation Laboratory
The Palaeoecology Laboratory is part of the Quaternary Environmental Change Research Group, in the Institute of Geography and Earth Sciences, Aberystwyth. Researchers investigate the sedimentary records of climatic and vegetational change from lakes in Ethiopia, Kenya and Mexico. Other projects concern environmental history in Morocco, Turkey, Ireland and Wales, and computerized pollen recognition. The laboratory is equipped with a range of sediment coring devices, and water and sediment samplers. The pollen preparation laboratories are second to none, and the microscopy lab has Nikon, Zeiss and Leica microscopes, and several networked PCs. The pollen reference collection has material from Europe, North America, North Africa and East Africa. Analytical techniques carried out in the Laboratory include pollen, charcoal, ostracod and diatom analyses, resin-embedded thin-section sedimentology, stable-isotope analyses of lacustrine carbonates (in collaboration with the NERC Isotope Geochemistry Lab), and trace-element chemistry of water and calcareous microfossils using the Institute's ICP-MS and Dionex DX-100 ion chromatograph facilities.
For the analysis of sediments, an XRF core scanner is available.
Aberystwyth Luminescence Research Laboratory (ALRL) prides itself on being a world-class research laboratory investigating the physical mechanisms involved in the production of luminescence by naturally occuring minerals, and applying this to the dating of sediments to elucidate Quaternary events, to enlighten our knowledge of the evolution of anaotmically modern humans and to define the rates of geomorphological processes.
The laboratory's primary aim is to undertake innovative, world-class research in the development and application of luminescence dating. Research is undertaken by its permanent staff, by postgraduate students and post-doctoral fellows on a range of topics. Many of the PhD students and PDRA's trained at ALRL have gone on to run their own laboratories around the world. Additionally, the laboratory often hosts distinguished overseas visitors, either people from other luminescence laboratories around the world who wish to spend time interacting with researchers at ALRL, or people who have limited previous experience of luminescence and wish to learn the technique.
ALRL is a NERC recognised facility, both for collaborative involvement in specific dating projects, and for training of researchers in the field of luminescence dating. In addition, since 2004 the journal Ancient TL dealing with issues in the application of luminescence and electron spin resonance dating has been published from ALRL.