Turnover events in planktonic protist groups such as dinoflagellates are likely driven by different natural and anthropogenic factors. As ecologically and systematically diverse primary producers, dinoflagellates also contribute significantly to the eco‐functioning of the Pontocaspian aquatic system and they are an ideal target taxon for palaeoenvironmental reconstructions. However patterns of (endemic) biodiversity and processes of evolution are still incompletely known. A database of modern dinocysts (with detailed taxonomy) across the Pontocaspian region (>80 localities) and environmental signatures of their biotopes, such as salinity, temperature and nutrients will be established in order to quantify species turnovers during the Late Pleistocene and Holocene.
This project was based at the Brunel University and supervised by Prof. Suzanne Leroyuntil 1 November 2016. After that the project moved to Bristol University.