Quaternary Palaeontology | Weimar

Team

Quaternary Macroflora Section

Dr. Frank Kienast
Dr. Frank Kienast
Head of Quaternary macroflora section

Research interests

  • Vegetation dynamics of the cold-stage tundra-steppe in Eurasia
  • Quaternary vegetation history in Central Europe
  • Arctic vegetation changes during the Holocene and comparisons with  former warm stages
  • Relictic steppes in extrazonal arid regions of Yakutia

Curriculum vitae

since 2008
head of the Quaternary macroflora section of SENCKENBERG Research Station of Quaternary Palaeontology in Weimar

2004-2007
postdoc at the Alfred Wegener Institute for Polar and Marine Research (DFG KI 849/1-2)

2003
German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) grant, stay at the Yakutsk State University and fieldwork in Central and Northeast Yakutia (Republic Sakha, Russian Federation)

2002
PhD (Dr. rer. nat.), PhD topic: Reconstruction of Late Quaternary vegetation and climate in the Laptev Sea region basing on botanical macro remains

1999-2002  
PhD student in the working group „Permafrost deposits as palaeoclimate archives” at the Periglacial Research Section at the Alfred Wegener Institute for Polar and Marine Research

1998
Diploma degree (Dipl.-Geoecol.), Diploma topic: Quaternary plant macrofossils from Ice Complex deposits at Cape Sabler, Lake Taymyr, N-Siberia

1992-1998 
study of geoecology and biology at the Potsdam University

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Scientific publications

KIENAST, F., ASHASTINA, K. & TROEVA, E. (2018): Phylogeography of a west-Beringian endemic plant: An ancient seed of Stellaria jacutica Schischk. detected in permafrost deposits of the last interglacial. – Review of Palaeobotany and Palynology 259: 48-54 | doi: 10.1016/j.revpalbo.2018.09.012.

ASHASTINA, K., KUZMINA, S., RUDAYA, N., TROEVA, E., SCHOCH, W. H., RÖMERMANN, C., REINECKE, J., OTTE, V., SAWINOV, G., WESCHE, K., KIENAST, F. (2018): Woodlands and steppes: Pleistocene vegetation in Yakutia’s most continental part recorded in the Batagay permafrost sequence. – Quaternary Science Reviews 196: 38-61 | doi: 10.1016/j.quascirev.2018.07.032.

ASHASTINA, K., SCHIRRMEISTER, L., FUCHS, M. & KIENAST, F. (2017): Palaeoclimate characteristics in interior Siberia of MIS 6–2: first insights from the Batagay permafrost mega-thaw slump in the Yana Highlands. – Climate of the Past 13: 795-818 | doi: 0.5194/cp-13-795-2017.

SCHIRRMEISTER, L., MEYER, H., ANDREEV, A., WETTERICH, S., KIENAST, F., BOBROV, A., FUCHS, M., SIERRALTA, M. & HERZSCHUH, U. (2016): Late Quaternary paleoenvironmental records from the Chatanika River valley near Fairbanks (Alaska). – Quaternary Science Reviews 147259-278 | doi: 10.1016/j.quascirev.2016.02.009.

SCHLEUSNER, Ph., BISKARBON, B. K., KIENAST, F., WOLTER, J., SUBETTO, D. & DIEKMANN, B. (2015): Basin evolution and palaeoenvironmental variability of the thermokarst lake El’gene-Kyuele, Arctic Siberia. – Boreas 44 (1): 216-229 | doi: 10.1111/bor.12084.

MAUL, L. C., STEBICH, M., FRENZEL, P., HAMBACH, U., HENKEL, T., KATZSCHMANN, L., KIENAST, F., MENG, S., PENKMAN, K., ROLF, C., THOMAS, M. & KAHLKE, R.-D. (2013): Age and palaeoenvironment of the enigmatic Arternian Interglacial – evidence from the Muschelton at Voigtstedt/Hackelsberg (Thuringia, Central Germany). – Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology 386: 68-85 | doi: 10.1016/j.palaeo.2013.05.005.

KIENAST, F. (2013): Plant macrofossil records – Arctic Eurasia. – In: Encyclopedia of Quaternary Science Vol. 3. – 733-745; Elsevier, 2nd edition.

ANDREEV, A. A., MOROZOVA, E., FEDOROV, G., SCHIRRMEISTER, L., BOBROV, A. A., KIENAST, F. & SCHWAMBORN, G. (2012): Vegetation history of central Chukotka deduced from permafrost paleoenvironmental records of the El’gygytgyn Impact Crater. – Climate of the Past 8: 1287-1300 | doi:10.5194/cp-8-1287-2012.

WETTERICH, S., GROSSE, G., SCHIRRMEISTER, L., ANDREEV, A. A., BOBROV, A. A., KIENAST, F., BIGELOW, N. H. & EDWARDS, M. E. (2012): Late Quaternary environmental and landscape dynamics revealed from a pingo sequence on the northern Seward Peninsula, Alaska. – Quaternary Science Reviews 39: 26-44 | doi:10.1016/j.quascirev.2012.01.027.

JØRGENSEN, T., HAILE, J., MÖLLER, P., ANDREEV, A., BOESSENKOOL, S., RASMUSSEN, M., KIENAST, F., COISSAC, E., TABERLET, P., BROCHMANN, C., BIGELOW, N., ANDERSEN, K., ORLANDO, L., GILBERT, P., THOMAS, M. & WILLERSLEV, E. (2012): A comparative study of ancient sedimentary DNA, pollen and macrofossils from permafrost sediments of northern Siberia reveals long-term vegetational stability. – Molecular Ecology 21: 1989-2003; | doi: 10.1111/j.1365-294X.2011.05287.x.

KIENAST, F., WETTERICH, S.,  KUZMINA, S.,  SCHIRRMEISTER, L., ANDREEV, A. A.,  TARASOV, P.,  NAZAROVA, L., KOSSLER, A., FROLOVA, L. & KUNITSKY, V .V. (2011): Paleontological records indicate the occurrence of open woodlands in a dry inland climate at the present-day Arctic coast in western Beringia during the last interglacial. – Quaternary Science Reviews 30 (17/18): 2134-2159 | doi:10.1016/j.quascirev.2010.11.024.

SCHIRRMEISTER, L., GROSSE, G., SCHNELLE, M., FUCHS, M., ULRICH, M., KUNITSKY, V., KRBETSCHEK, M., GRIGORIEV, M., ANDREEV, A., KIENAST, F., MEYER, H., KLIMOVA, I., BABIY, O., BOBROV, A., WETTERICH, S. & SCHWAMBORN, G. (2011): Late Quaternary paleoenvironmental records from the western Lena Delta, Arctic Siberia. – Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology 299: 175-196 | doi: 10.1016/j.palaeo.2010.10.045.

WERNER, K., TARASOV, P. E., ANDREEV, A. A., MÜLLER, S., KIENAST, F., ZECH, M., ZECH, W. & DIEKMANN, B. (2010): A 12.5-kyr history of vegetation dynamics and mire development with evidence of the Younger Dryas larch presence in the Verkhoyansk Mountains, East Siberia, Russia. – Boreas 39 (1): 56-68.

BINNEY, H. A., WILLIS, K. J., EDWARDS, M. E., BHAGWAT, S. A., ANDERSON, P., ANDREEV, A. A., BLAAUW, M., DAMBLON, F., HAESAERTS, P., KIENAST, F., KREMENETSKI, K. V., KRIVONOGOV, S. K., LOZHKIN, A. V., MACDONALD, G. M., NOVENKO, E. Y., OKSANEN, P., SAPELKO, T. V., VALIRANTA, M. & VAZHENINA, L. (2009): The distribution of Late Quaternary woody taxa in Eurasia: evidence from a new macrofossil database. – Quaternary Science Reviews 28 (23/24): 2445-2464.

ANDREEV, A., GROSSE, G., SCHIRRMEISTER, L., KUZNETSOVA, T. V., KUZMINA, S. A., BOBROV, A. A., TARASOV, P. E., NOVENKO, E. YU., MEYER, H., DEREVYAGIN, A. YU., KIENAST, F., BRYANTSEVA, A. & KUNITSKY, V. V. (2009): Weichselian and Holocene palaeoenvironmental history of the Bol’shoy Lyakhovsky Island, New Siberian Archipelago, Arctic Siberia. – Boreas 38 (1): 72-110.

KIENAST, F., TARASOV, P., SCHIRRMEISTER, L., GROSSE, G. & ANDREEV, A. (2008): Continental climate in the East Siberian Arctic during the last interglacial: implications from palaeobotanical records. – Global and Planetary Change 60(3/4): 535-562.

WETTERICH, S., KUZMINA, S., KUZNETSOVA, T., ANDREEV, A. A., KIENAST, F., MEYER, H., SCHIRRMEISTER, L. & SIERRALTA, M. (2008): Palaeoenvironmental dynamics inferred from late Quaternary permafrost deposits on Kurungnakh Island, Lena Delta, Northeast Siberia, Russia. – Quaternary Science Reviews 27 (15/16): 1523-1540.

KIENAST, F., SCHIRRMEISTER, L. & WETTERICH, S. (2008): Vegetation Differentiation across a topographic Yedoma – Alas Transect in the High Arctic Tundra of Oyogos Yar, East Siberia. – Proceedings of the 9th International Conference on Permafrost, University of Alaska, Fairbanks. – 937-940.

SCHIRRMEISTER, L., GROSSE, G., KUNITSKY, V., MAGENS, D., MEYER, H., DEREVIAGIN, A., KUZNETSOVA, T., ANDREEV, A., BABIY, O., KIENAST, F., GRIGORIEV, M. & PREUSSER, F. (2008): Periglacial landscape evolution and environmental changes of Arctic lowland areas for the last 60,000 years (Western Laptev Sea coast, Cape Mamontov Klyk). – Polar Research 27: 249-272.

KIENAST, F. (2007): Arctic Vegetation History – Eurasia. – In: Encyclopedia of Quaternary Science. – 2422-2434; Elsevier.

KIENAST, F., SCHIRRMEISTER, L., SIEGERT, C. & TARASOV, P. (2005): Palaeobotanical evidence for warm summers in the East Siberian Arctic during the last cold stage. – Quaternary Research 63 (3): 283-300.

KUNITSKY, V. V., SCHIRRMEISTER, L., GROSSE, G. & KIENAST, F. (2002): Snow Patches in Nival Landscapes and Their Role for the Ice Complex Formation in the Laptev Sea Coastal Lowlands. – Polarforschung 70: 53-67.

SCHIRRMEISTER, L., SIEGERT, C., KUZNETSOVA, T., KUZMINA, S., ANDREEV, A. A., KIENAST, F., MEYER, H. & BOBROV, A. A. (2002): Paleoenvironmental and paleoclimatic records from permafrost deposits in the Arctic region of Northern Siberia. – Quaternary International 89: 97-118.

KIENAST, F. (2002): Die Rekonstruktion der spätquartären Vegetations- und Klimageschichte der Laptewsee-Region auf der Basis botanischer Großrestuntersuchungen. Dissertation, Universität Potsdam.

KIENAST, F., SIEGERT, C., DEREVIAGIN, A. & MAI, D. H. (2001): Climatic implications of late Quaternary plant macrofossil assemblages from the Taymyr Peninsula, Siberia. – Global and Planetary Change 31: 265-281.

KIENAST, F. (1998): Paläokarpologische Untersuchungen an Ablagerungen des Eiskomplexes vom Kap Sabler: Ein Beitrag zur Rekonstruktion der spätquartären Umweltbedingungen des Taymyrgebietes. Diplomarbeit, Universität Potsdam.

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Popular scientific contributions

ASHASTINA, K. & KIENAST, F. (2016): Geheimnisse im sibirischen Permafrost. – Senckenberg – natur • forschung • museum 146 (9/10): 260-273.

KAHLKE, R.-D., KEILER, J.-A. & KIENAST, F. (2014): Senckenberg Forschungsstation für Quartärpaläontologie Weimar. – In: Werneburg, R. & Mey, E. (Hrsg.), (2014): Thüringer Natur-Schätze : Naturkundliche Museen und Sammlungen im Freistaat Thüringen. – 138-147; Schnell + Steiner, Regensburg.

KIENAST, F., KAHLKE, R.-D., KEILER, J.-A., STEBICH, M. & WILDE, V. (2012): Weimarer quartärbotanische Sammlungen in neuem Domizil. – Senckenberg – natur • forschung • museum 142 (9/10): 324-327.

DRESSLER, S., GEBAUER, P., HOPPENRATH, M., KIENAST, F., OTTE, V. & ZIZKA, G. (2011): Das neue Herbarium Senckenbergianum – Alte Institutionen unter einem gemeinsamen neuen Dach. – Senckenberg  – natur • forschung • museum 141 (3/4): 110-113.

KAHLKE, R.-D., KIENAST, F., MAUL, L. C. & STEBICH, M. (2009): Neuaufstellung der Quartärpaläontologischen Sammlungen. – Natur und Museum 139 (5/6): 196-201.

KIENAST, F. (2009): Der Untergang der pleistozänen Tundrensteppe. – Natur und Museum 139 (5/6): 172-177.

KIENAST, F. & STEBICH, M. (2009): Der Thüringische Flieder Syringa thuringiaca (Vitrine Mai/Juni 2009). – Natur und Museum 139 (5/6): 194-195.

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Expedition reports

SCHIRRMEISTER, L., WETTERICH, S., KUNITSKY, V., TUMSKOY, V., DOBRYNIN, D., DEREVYAGIN, A., OPEL, T., KIENAST, F., KUZNETSOVA, T. & GORODINSKY, A. (2009): Palaeoenviromental studies on the Oyogos Yar coast. – In: BOIKE, J., BOL’SHIYANOV, D. Y., SCHIRRMEISTER, L., WETTERICH, S. (eds.): The Expedition LENA – NEW SIBERIAN ISLANDS 2007 during the International Polar Year (IPY) 2007/2008. – Reports on Polar and Marine Research 584: 85-154.

WETTERICH, S. & KIENAST, F. (2009): Permafrost and modern environmental dynamics – Studies along the Dimitrii Laptev Strait: Scientific background and objectives. – In: BOIKE, J., BOL’SHIYANOV, D. Y., SCHIRRMEISTER, L., WETTERICH, S. (eds.): The Expedition LENA – NEW SIBERIAN ISLANDS 2007 during the International Polar Year (IPY) 2007/2008. – Reports on Polar and Marine Research 584: 155-163.

KIENAST, F. (2009): Modern vegetation in the coastal lowlands of Oyogos Yar. – In: BOIKE, J., BOL’SHIYANOV, D. Y., SCHIRRMEISTER, L., WETTERICH, S. (eds.): The Expedition LENA – NEW SIBERIAN ISLANDS 2007 during the International Polar Year (IPY) 2007/2008. – Reports on Polar and Marine Research 584: 165-173.

KIENAST, F. & GOGOLEVA, P. A. (2007): Vegetation studies in extremely continental regions of Yakutia. – Reports on Polar and Marine Research 550: 275-289.

KIENAST, F. & TSHERKASOVA, J. (2001): Comparative botanical recent-studies in the Lena River Delta. – Berichte zur Polarforschung 388: 24-44.

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Dr. Kseniia Ashastina

Research project

The end of the Pleistocene tundra steppe – interactions between vegetation, climate and large herbivores in Beringia during the late Quaternary

As part of the project group ‘The impact of coastline shifts, climate and herbivory on Arctic vegetation during the Quaternary’, the research project reveals the ecological interactions of climate, vegetation and large herbivores in the Arctic during the late Quaternary by combining palaeobotanical results with studies of modern plant communities in Yakutia, Russian Federation.  Macroscopic plant remains are preserved in excellent condition in syngenetic permafrost sequences in the Yana and Kolyma catchment areas and are used to reconstruct structure, composition and dynamics of the late Quaternary vegetation in NE-Siberia. The reconstructed palaeovegetation will be compared then with modern plant cover in North Yakutia: on the one hand with unaffected vegetation along the main, climatically controlled gradient and on the other hand with vegetation heavily disturbed by grazing. By combining both approaches, the relative proportions of climate and grazing effects as potential main drivers determining the characteristics of extant and Pleistocene vegetation in western Beringia will be identified. 

The project includes expeditions to Yakutia in 2014 and 2015. The first expedition is already completed. An outcrop close to Batagai was explored and samples were taken for plant remains and sediment composition analysis. At the same time, the recent steppe vegetation in the surrounding Yana highlands was studied by the working group of Karsten Wesche (SENCKENBERG Görlitz) in the scope of a sister project.
With a picture taken on the expedition 2014, K. Ashastina 2017 became the winner of the Nature photo contest „Scientist at Work“.

University education

2018
PhD thesis for Biological Science by the Friedrich Schiller University Jena, Germany.

2011-2013
Master of Science for Applied Polar and Marine Sciences, POMOR Master Program, double degree awarded by the University of St. Petersburg, Russia and the University of Hamburg, Germany.

2006-2011
Diploma of specialist in geography: St. Petersburg State University Faculty of Geography and Geoecology, Russia.

ASHASTINA, K. (2018): Palaeo-environments at the Batagay site in inland West Beringia during the late Quaternary. PhD thesis, Friedrich Schiller University Jena, Germany.

KIENAST, F., ASHASTINA, K. & TROEVA, E. (2018): Phylogeography of a west-Beringian endemic plant: An ancient seed of Stellaria jacutica Schischk. detected in permafrost deposits of the last interglacial. – Review of Palaeobotany and Palynology 259: 48-54 | doi: 10.1016/j.revpalbo.2018.09.012.

ASHASTINA, K., KUZMINA, S., RUDAYA, N., TROEVA, E., SCHOCH, W. H., RÖMERMANN, C., REINECKE, J., OTTE, V., SAWINOV, G., WESCHE, K., KIENAST, F. (2018): Woodlands and steppes: Pleistocene vegetation in Yakutia’s most continental part recorded in the Batagay permafrost sequence. – Quaternary Science Reviews 196: 38-61 | doi: 10.1016/j.quascirev.2018.07.032.

ASHASTINA, K., SCHIRRMEISTER, L., FUCHS, M. & KIENAST, F. (2017): Palaeoclimate characteristics in interior Siberia of MIS 6–2 – first insights from the Batagay permafrost mega-thaw slump in the Yana Highlands. – Climate of the Past 13: 795-818 | doi: 0.5194/cp-13-795-2017.

ASHASTINA, K., KIENAST, F., RÖMERMANN, C., KUZMINA, S., DIEKMANN, B., SCHIRRMEISTER, L. (2017): The Batagay permafrost mega thaw slump – an environmental archive of Late Pleistocene continental climate. European Geosciences Union (EGU) General Assembly 2017, 24. April 2017, Vienna, Austria. – Geophysical Research Abstracts 19: EGU2017-959.

ASHASTINA, K., SCHIRRMEISTER, L., FUCHS, M. & KIENAST, F. (2016): Pleistocene climate characteristics in the most continental part of the northern hemisphere – insights from cryolithological features of the Batagay mega thaw slump in the Siberian Yana Highlands. – Climate of the Past Discussions | doi: 10.5194/cp-2016-84, 2016.

KIENAST, F., ASHASTINA, K., RUDAYA, N. & WESCHE, K. (2016): Last interglacial versus last cold stage – Palaeovegetation in North Yakutia’s most continental part recorded in the Batagai permafrost sequence. – XI. International Conference on Permafrost (ICOP), 20.-24.06.2016, Potsdam, Germany. Book of Abstracts | doi: 10.2312/GFZ.LIS.2016.001.

ASHASTINA, K., SCHIRRMEISTER, L., DIEKMANN, B. & KIENAST, F. (2016): The Batagai Outcrop – window into the past of North Yakutia’s most continental part. – XI. International Conference on Permafrost (ICOP), 20.-24.06.2016, Potsdam, Germany. Book of Abstracts | doi:10.2312/GFZ.LIS.2016.001.

ASHASTINA, K. & KIENAST, F. (2016): Geheimnisse im sibirischen Permafrost. – Senckenberg – natur • forschung • museum 146 (9/10): 260-273; Frankfurt a. M.