Postgraduate course on the importance of time in ecology and its environmental context, as well as in biodiversity and ecosystem conservation. The course includes the diversity of methods for paleoecological, paleoclimatic and paleoenvironmental reconstruction used in the Quaternary (the last 2.6 million years), the period in which present-day communities originated, with emphasis in the past as one of the more powerful tools for testing ecological hypotheses with empirical evidence, to calibrate and valiadte ecological models and to generate ecological principles. Ecological functioning started with the origin of life, and the structural and functional features of the present biosphere are not the result of short-term processes but of the interaction of ecological and evolutionary phenomena at different temporal scales. The main message is that past, present and future are not discrete time units but part of a temporal continuum of which the present is only a snapshot.

The course is intended for graduate students of biology, geology, geography, history, anthropology, environmental sciences, climatology, conservation and similar disciplines. Download the flyer of the course.

Next edition: May 2018.


  • Introduction
  • The Quaternary
  • Sedimentary archives
  • Paleoclimatology
  • Paleoceanography
  • Terrestrial paleoecology
  • Paleolimnology
  • Biotic responses to environmental changes
  • Climate change and biodiversity conservation


Invited speakers

For more information, contact the coordinator, Encarni Montoya (emontoya@ictja.csic.es)