Main Research focus: I am a paleobotanist & paleoecologist interested in understanding past vegetation change and ecosystems dynamics driven by both biotic and abiotic factors in eastern African region. I analyze and study both plant macro- and micro-fossils (leaves, wood, seeds, pollen, phytoliths, spores and charcoal). My major focus is to study and understand vegetation change, especially grasslands, in response to major past environmental and climatic events. Data collected help explain major evolutionary events especially for mammals, including humans.
Timescales: Miocene, Pliocene, Pleistocene, Holocene, Anthropocene
Archives: Paleontological & archeological sites, paleolake basins, Swamps/bogs, caves
The following are my major research questions: –
1) When is the onset of grasslands ecosystems expansion in eastern Africa region? (Fossil pollen/phytoliths)
2) How did vegetation composition and structure vary across space and through time? (Fossil pollen, phytoliths, leaves and wood)
3) What was the main driving factor (s) (climate, tectonic processes, anthropogenic) of these changes at any given time and space? (Paleovegetation, paleoclimates and fire regimes)
4) Did these paleoenvironmental changes uniform across the region or were they localized in specific basins/blocks?
5) Pastoralism is one of the oldest subsistence strategies in East Africa, it is mainly practiced in semi-arid and arid regions. What is its impact of unpredictable climate change and vegetation cover?
Other Research Interests
1. Historical ecology and conservation biology
2. Mellisopalynology- pollen analyses from honey and honeybees to understand bee foraging behavior and pollination ecology.
3. Past climate change in eastern Africa, its role in ecosystems changes, human adaptation strategies and lessons that can be used to cope with present and future climate change