Clemens von Scheffer, Alumni


Clemens von Scheffer (Germany, 1985)

M.Sc. in Geosciences

PhD project
Climate, Environment and Human impact signals in the Silvretta Region since the last deglaciation – A geochemical and sedimentological analysis of micro peat bogs
In cooperation with scientists from different countries, this project approaches archaeological, paleoenvironmental and paleoclimatological questions by using geochemical, sedimentary and palynological indicators from peat bogs as the main tool. The development of human presence and colonization of the Central Alps is relatively well documented along the river valleys but the dynamics and interactions between past anthropogenic activities, landscape and climate in the high alpine zone remain unclear. How did the human presence change the environment and to what extent did the climate affect the range of human activities?
Geographically, the area of interest is located in the Silvretta region, along the border between Switzerland and Austria. Here, the, usually very small, peat bogs will be cored during field campaigns over the next years. Despite of their size, these peat deposits can reach into the past even further than 10.000 year, allowing investigating large parts of the Holocene development after the ice slowly retreated and peat formation started. Several techniques will be applied on the obtained sample material for the geochemical and sedimentological analyses. XRF scanning, CNS- and grain size analyses can yield information about relative element abundances and give indications for erosional processes, bioproductivity and decomposition. Based on the outcome, certain sample series from selected cores can be prepared in the clean lab and subsequently measured by ICP-MS to get fully quantitative results. Especially the ICP measurements could be able to reveal chemical traces of past human activities on a local and regional scale. By combining the obtained datasets, the further development and testing of existing methods and proxies is crucial for the specific use of high altitude peat bogs as paleoarchives. All results will be flanked by palynological data, obtained from the same cores and 14C-dating will provide robust age models. The latter enables the data comparison to other regional paleo- and archaeological studies, but also to link the observations to Holocene records of known climate events and trends from a regional to a global scale.
Research interests (Paleo)climate, Geochemistry, Sedimentology, Isotopes, Anthropogenic impacts on environment, ecosystems and climate, Vegetation, related technical issues.

Since 2016
Member of the Graduate School “Human Development in Landscapes” at Kiel University, cotutelle with Institut National Polytechnique de Toulouse (INP), France.

M.Sc in Geosciences at Kiel University. Thesis: Geochemical evolution of the atmospheric inputs into a peat bog of Southern-Chile.

Two ERASMUS semesters at the INP Toulouse (ENSAT, ENSIACET, ENSEEIHT) in France. Master 2 «Hydrologie, Hydrochimie, Sol, Environnement». Thesis on the inorganic geochemistry of a peat bog of Tierra del Fuego, inferring dust flux, paleoclimatic and -environmental conditions from late Pleistocene to mid Holocene.

B.Sc. in Geosciences at Kiel University. Thesis (translated to English): Validation and sensitivity analysis of a numerical model based on a long term NAPL dissolution test on laboratory scale.

Two semesters of B.Sc. in Maritime Technology at the University of Applied Sciences in Bremerhaven.

Work experience

August- September 2015
Side job at Sensatec Gmbh in Kiel, Soil/ groundwater remediation, microbiology.

Laboratory work for the master thesis at Ecolab (INP Toulouse, France) supported by a PROMOS scholarship.

February- May 2013
Scientific internship at Ecolab (INP Toulouse, France). Sample preparation, Wet digestion, ICP-MS, ICP-OES

Student research assistant, clean lab (marine bio - and isotope geochemistry) at the GEOMAR in Kiel.

February - March 2011
Internship at Gmbh in Kiel, Soil/ groundwater remediation, microbiology.

April- July 2007
Internship at KSB solutions Gmbh in Bremen, Hydraulic systems.

Selected publications

Vanneste, H., De Vleeschouwer, F., Martínez-Cortizas, A., von Scheffer, C., Piotrowska, N., Coronato, A., & Le Roux, G. (2015). Late-glacial elevated dust deposition linked to westerly wind shifts in southern South America. Scientific reports, 5, Nature Publishing Group.