Looking to the ice age for climate clues

October 13, 2023

Paleoecologist Jacquelyn Gill, PhD shared her mammoth research at the 30th Kuehnast Lecture.

A photo of people standing in front of a wooly mammoth at the Bell Museum

Jacquelyn Gill (second from left) and U of M colleagues Holly Menninger, Peter Neff, and Solomon David visited the Bell Museum—including the full scale wooly mammoth replica—during Gill's visit to campus.

The department of Soil, Water, and Climate hosted the 30th Kuehnast Lecture yesterday, an annual lecture series in the fields of climatology and meteorology. The invited speaker was Jacquelyn Gill, PhD, from the University of Maine, a paleoecologist and biogeographer who studies how “biodiversity responds to global change.” Attendees saw photos and heard stories of Gill’s research, including field expeditions to study mammoths and other large mammals that roamed the earth during the last ice age and were preserved in permafrost.

“Dr. Gill's research and lecture perfectly cut across many topics that CFANS students, faculty, and staff are hard at work on,” said Peter Neff, PhD, chair of the Kuehnast Committee. "We all seek to better understand earth systems, and to do that we try to understand both past and present system behavior with an eye toward projecting future outcomes. This is increasingly important across so many aspects of soil, water, and climate and how those areas interact in a warming world.”