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Research Projects under LUECI


Upper Xingu Project :

Kuikuru village from the air

Archaeology and indigenous history of Native Amazonian peoples in the Upper Xingu region, Brazil, reveals unexpectedly complex regional settlement patterns and large-scale transformations of local landscapes over the past millennium.

Principal LUECI Investigator:  Michael Heckenberger


Lago Peten-Itza Drilling Project

map of Drilling Sites

Department of Peten, Guatemala


Principal LUECI Investigator:  David Hodell


Decandal-Scale Dynamics of Land Ownership, Land management, and Carbon Storage in the Southestern Lower Coastal Plain of the US - A study of how carbon storage dynamics in forested ecosystems in the southeastern United States are influenced by climate variability and land ownership.

Principal LUECI Investigator:  Michael Binford


Trophic State Changes in Florida Lakes -

Trophic state

210Pb-dated sediment cores from Florida lakes have been studied to evaluate recent human impacts on Florida basins and to assess the feasibility of lake restoration.


Principal LUECI Investigator:  Mark Brenner


Paleoclimate of the Yucatan Peninsula -

lake core study

Lake sediments from Mexico were studied to evaluate climate shifts and consequent ecological changes during the past 8,000 years. A prolonged drought extending from ~800 to 1000 A.D. is implicated in the collapse of Classic Maya civilization. View the related NOAA Paleoclimatology Program slide set entitled Climate and the Classic Maya Civilization for further information.

Principal LUECI Investigators:  Mark Brenner, David Hodell


Paleoecology of Yunnan, China -


Long sediment profiles were used to study the development of the Asian Monsoon and to evaluate soil erosion and lacustrine pollution that accompanied recent intensive agricultural development in watersheds of the Yunnan Plateau.

Principal LUECI Investigators:  Mark Brenner, David Hodell


History of El Niño Events - Sediment profiles from saline lakes of the Galapagos Islands are being studied to gain historical perspective on the frequency and intensity of El Niño events.

Principal LUECI Investigators:  Mark Brenner, David Hodell


Impacts of Climate Change on Midwestern Ecosystems -


Impacts of Climate Change on Midwestern Ecosystems - Landscapes of the Midwestern United States have been studied to address the effects of global climate change and climate variability on agricultural processes and forest ecosystems. Collaborative research with the Midwestern Regional Center of the National Institute for Global Environmental Change (NIGEC) at Indiana University.

Principal LUECI Investigators:  Jane Southworth


Remote Sensing of Land Cover Change -


Remote sensing techniques are being used to examine land cover change and successional stages of forest growth in Honduras, Guatemala, and the Yucatan Peninsula of Mexico. Collaborative research with the Center for the Study of Institutions, Population, and Environmental Change (CIPEC) at Indiana University.

Principal LUECI Investigators:  Jane Southworth


Carbon Storage Dynamics in Forested Ecosystems -

Carbon Storage

Forested areas of the southeastern United States will be studied intensively to determine the spatial and temporal patterns of changing land management and changing carbon storage over the 25-year period covered by data available from the Landsat Program.

Principal LUECI Investigators:  Michael Binford


Historical Ecology of the Maya Region -

Long cores from Guatemalan lakes are being used to reconstruct Pleistocene and Holocene climate change and the impact of long-term Maya agro-engineering on tropical lowland watersheds. These sediment stratigraphies record acute human-mediated deforestation and soil erosion for the period from 3000 to 400 years ago.

Principal LUECI Investigators:  Mark Brenner, David Hodell


Environmental History of the Bolivian Altiplano -


Long Cores

Long sediment cores from lake Titicaca provide insights into environmental changes during the past 3000 years. Paleoecological studies were coupled with experiments in raised-field agricultural techniques to evaluate the sustainability of this ancient food-producing method. A persistent drought about 1100 A.D. is associated with the termination of raised-field agriculture in the region.

Principal LUECI Investigators:  Michael Binford, Mark Brenner







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