Amphithéâtre Marguerite de Navarre, Site Marcelin Berthelot
En libre accès, dans la limite des places disponibles


Does the current climate change enhance the risk of future pandemics?
A way to search for an answer on this difficult question is using the past as a key to the present.
Past episodes of climate change can provide a resource for understanding the complex links between the social responses to environmental stress and environment-disease connections, especially when locally constrained high temporal resolution paleoclimate reconstructions are available.
Here we present an example from Roman Times, stretching from the so-called Roman Climate Optimum to the Late Antique Little Ice Age, a timespan that overlaps some of the first widely attested pandemic disease outbreaks in human history, i.e. the Antonine Plague (~165-180 CE), the Plague of Cyprian (~251-266 CE) and the First Plague Pandemic (~541-766 CE (Plague of Justinian). We present how we could reconstruct temperature and precipitation from the heartland of the Roman Empire with a ~3 years resolution between ∼200 BCE ∼600 CE, using fossilized marine microalgae and volcanic ash particles in a southern Italian marine sedimentary archive. We document that phases of instability and cooling associate with pandemic disease and discuss how climate stress might have interacted with social and biological variables.

Karin Zonneveld

Karin Zonneveld
  • 2019-onward: Unit-leader German Science Foundation granted excellence cluster the ocean in Depth
  • 2013-onward. Head of research group: Marine Palynology
  • 2001-2012: Vice speaker of International Graduate College Proxies in Earth History
  • 2003: Habilitation University of Bremen
  • 1996-onward: scientific staff member University of Bremen
  • 1996: PhD University of Utrecht (NL)
  • 1989 - 1990: junior researcher University of Oslo, Norway
  • 1984-1990: Study Biology university of Utrecht (NL)

- Number of PhD students graduated as primary advisor: 18
- Number of PhD student graduated as secondary advisor on other German Universities: 3
- Number of PhD student graduated at non-German Universities as secondary advisor: 4
- H-index: 46, i10-index 99, publications in peer reviewed international journals: 112 (34 first author), submitted papers: 2
- Attendance of Marine Expeditions: 25 from which 11 as principal scientist


Karin Zonneveld

Professor Marine Palynology, MARUM-Center for marine environmental science/Faculty of Geosciences, University of Bremen, Bremen, Germany