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Kenneth Rijsdijk

  • PhD
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My name is Kenneth Rijsdijk (1968) and I am currently a fixed term researcher at the geology department at Naturalis. Originally educated as physical geographer my research is focussed on the dynamics of abiotic processes that shape the earth’s surface. I am especially interested in the Quaternary dynamics of landscape evolution in the North Sea and Irish Sea basins. In 2006 I was part of a team that discovered an exceptionally rich 4000 yrs old fossil mass grave in Maurtius, a volcanic island in the Indian Ocean. This mass grave contained bones of the iconic flightless bird, the dodo and more than 10 other extinct vertebrates. This discovery led to new research questions and since this discovery I have become fascinated by the role of environmental change and landscape dynamics in affecting and generating island biota and their ecosystems. I am particularly interested in 1) the role of deep time, dynamics of geodiversity and interaction with island biodiversity and 2) quantifying the impacts of humans on island ecosystems. After the discovery with the help of Mauritian partners, I set up an international network the Dodo Research Programme that includes scientific, museum, business and NGO staff, amounting at current more than 100 persons and a rich array of disciplines (from history, socioeconomy to archaeology, geology, ecology). One of aims of the Dodo Research Programme is to utilize the iconic significance of the dodo to inform the general public about the uniqueness, urgency and need to protect vulnerable island ecosystems. At the Institute of University of Amsterdam I lectures Earth Sciences (geology and the physics of earth sciences). Further I have helped to develop an entirely new beta-gamma Bsc. study programme Future Planet Studies, that aims to educate a new generation of scientists that are able to integrate gamma and beta science to resolve the future challenges that faces societies (climate change, depletion of natural resources, socioeconomic disruptions) Affiliations I am guest researcher and lecturer at the institute of Biodiversity and Ecosystem Dynamics, Computation Geo-Ecology Group of IBED University of Amsterdam and at the GeoBiology Team of TNO. I act as an advisory editor of the Netherlands Journal of GeoSciences. I am a member of the: Dutch Royal Society of Mining and Geology (KNGMG), Royal Society of Geography (KNAG), UK-based Quaternary Research Association, and Dutch professional network societies Physical Geography and Sedimentology. Lastly I am an ambassador for the advancement of beta sciences in the Netherland C.V. In 1993 I obtained an M.Sc. on Physical Geography at the University of Amsterdam. I specialised in sedimentology, alpine and (peri)glacial geomorphology. I worked for two years at the Geological Survey of the Netherlands on the Quaternary of the North Sea. In 1998 I obtained a Ph.D. at the University of Wales, Swansea, on the dynamics of the deglaciation of the Irish Sea basin 15.000 years ago. In 1999 I became employed as geologist at the Geological Survey of the Netherlands, and and worked on the Quaternary of the North Sea focussing on the Rhine Meuse depositional system. In 2005 I became involved in applied biogeological studies of microfossils in Palaeozoic rocks from the North Sea basin and North Africa. Since 2006 I am lecturing geoscience modules at the University of Amsterdam and became a guest researcher at the computation geo-ecology group. In 2008 I took up a fixed term contract with Naturalis at the Geology Department to continue research on the dodo mass grave.

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