Heidelberg University
Institute of Earth Sciences
Im Neuenheimer Feld 236
69120 Heidelberg
Phone: +49 6221 54-8291
Fax: +49 6221 54-5503


Palynology & Paleoenvironmental Dynamics


Oliver A. Kern, M.Sc.





Institute of Earth Sciences

Ruprecht-Karls-Universität Heidelberg

Im Neuenheimer Feld 234

D-69120 Heidelberg





+49 (0)6221-54 4830

+49 (0)6221-54 5503


Okern Profil














Research Profile:

The focus of my PhD work is on the reconstruction of vegetation and climate dynamics in Eurasia for different critical time intervals of the Quaternary.

For the Early (1.85-1.3 Ma) and Middle/Late (0.6-0.08 Ma) Quaternary, I aim to reconstruct the regional paleoclimatic evolution in Central Asia via the generation and evaluation of palynological and organic geochemical proxy data from the Qaidam Basin (Tibetan Plateau). My  goal is to contribute to a better understanding of the paleohydrological change connected to the shrinkage of the former Qaidam paleolake since the latest Pliocene, including the identification of potential tipping points in the region’s climatic evolution.

For the Late Quaternary (MIS 5e-MIS 1), I aim to reconstruct the sub-millennial-scale climate variability in Central Europe based on high-resolution pollen and X-ray fluorescence (XRF) data from the Füramoos peat bog, Southwestern Germany. Deciphering this variability is not only important for a better understanding of plant-migration patterns north of the Alps, but also sheds new light on the climatic background behind the cultural evolution of early humans. Furthermore, this aspect of my work can broaden the yet limited understanding of XRF-core-scanning signals preserved in peat. 




Short CV:


GESEP School 2019. "Lake Sediment Drilling, Core Processing and Geochronology". University of Cologne, Institute of Geology and Mineralogy.

since 05/2018

PhD student within the Paleoenvironmental Dynamics Group at the Institute of Earth Sciences, Heidelberg University. Supervisors: Dr. Andreas Koutsodendris, Prof. Jörg Pross


MSc in Earth Sciences at the Institute of Earth Sciences, Heidelberg University

Title of MSc thesis: Climate and vegetation dynamics of the past 56 thousand years based on a new core from Füramoos (Southwestern Germany). Supervisors: Dr. Andreas Koutsodendris, Prof. Jörg Pross


BSc in Earth Sciences at the Institute of Earth Sciences, Heidelberg University

Title of BSc thesis: Thermische Entwicklung des Kongobeckens am Beispiel der Bohrungen Samba und Dekese. Supervisor: Apl. Prof. Dr. Ulrich A. Glasmacher



Field Work / Scientific Expeditions:


2021 RV AEGAEO, EUROFLEETS+ cruise, SW Aegean Sea





(as of 03/2023)


[9] Koutsodendris, A., Dakos, V., Fletcher, W.J., Knipping, M., Kotthoff, U., Milner, A.M., Müller, U.C., Kaboth-Bahr, S., Kern, O.A., Kolb, L., Vakhrameeva, P., Wulf, S., Christanis, K., Schmiedl, G., Pross, J., 2023. Atmospheric CO2 forcing on Mediterranean biomes during the past 500 kyrs. Nature Communications 14, 1664.


[8] Kern, O.A., Koutsodendris, A., Allstädt, F.J., Mächtle, B., Peteet, D.M., Kalaitzidis, S., Christanis, K., Pross, J., 2022. A near-continuous record of climate and ecosystem variability in Central Europe during the past 130 kyrs (Marine Isotope Stages 5–1) from Füramoos, southern Germany. Quaternary Science Reviews 284, 107505.

[7] Bolland, A., Kern, O.A., Koutsodendris, A., Pross, J., Heiri, O., 2022. Chironomid-inferred summer temperature development during the late Rissian glacial, Eemian interglacial and earliest Würmian glacial at Füramoos, southern Germany. Boreas 51, 496–516.


[6] Koutsodendris, A., Auer, G., Beny, F., Iatrou, M., Kern, O., Kolb, L., Livanos, I., Mantopoulos, P., Martinot, C., Meier, K., Morfis, I., Panagiotopoulos, I., Paraschos, F., Sakellariou, D., Tsampouraki-Kraounaki, K., 2021. Climate dynamics and environmental change in the Aegean Sea during the Holocene. EUROFLEETS+ Cruise Report ‘MYRTOON’, September 30th – October 9th, Piraeus (Greece) – Piraeus (Greece), 1-19. 

[5] Kern, O.A., Koutsodendris, A., Pross, J., 2021. Palynological data for the Late Glacial and Holocene (14.5–0 ka BP) from Füramoos, Southern Germany. Data in Brief 39, 107650.

[4] Kern, O.A., Koutsodendris, A., Süfke, F., Gutjahr, M., Mächtle, B., Pross, J., 2021. Persistent, multi-sourced lead contamination in Central Europe since the Bronze Age recorded in the Füramoos peat bog, Germany. Anthropocene 36, 100310.

[3] Bolland, A., Kern, O.A., Allstädt, F.J., Peteet, D., Koutsodendris, A., Pross, J., Heiri, O., 2021. Summer temperatures during the Last Glaciation (MIS 5c to MIS 3) inferred from a 50,000-year chironomid record from Füramoos, southern Germany. Quaternary Science Reviews 264, 107008.


[2] Kern, O.A., Koutsodendris, A., Mächtle, B., Christanis, K., Schukraft, G., Scholz, C., Kotthoff, U., Pross, J., 2019. XRF core scanning yields reliable semiquantitative data on the elemental composition of highly organic-rich sediments: Evidence from the Füramoos peat bog (Southern Germany). Science of the Total Environment 697, 134110. 

[1] Koutsodendris, A., Allstädt, F.J., Kern, O.A., Kousis, I., Schwarz, F., Vannacci, M., Woutersen, A., Appel, E., Berke, M.A., Fang, X., Friedrich, O., Hoorn, C., Salzmann, U., Pross, J., 2019. Late Pliocene vegetation turnover on the NE Tibetan Plateau (Central Asia) triggered by early Northern Hemisphere glaciation. Global and Planetary Change 180, 117-125.



Conference Contributions:

[2] Kern, O.A., Allstädt, F.J., Koutsodendris, A., Mächtle, B., Schukraft, G., Heiri, O., Pross, J. (2020): Central European vegetation and climate dynamics during the past 130 ka at Füramoos, SW Germany. EGU General Assembly [Abstract].

[1] Kern, O.A., Koutsodendris, A., Mächtle, B., Kotthoff, U., Scholz, C., Schukraft, G., Pross, J. (2019): Application of X-ray fluorescence core scanning to peat and organic-rich lake sediments. Joint ICDP/IODP Meeting, Cologne, Germany [Poster].

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Latest Revision: 2023-03-25
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