Natural Environment Research Council Designated Data Centres

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  • To reconstruct the maternal demographic history of the populations of the Andaman and Nicobar archipelagos using genetic profiles obtained from colonial era skeletal material and hair collections. The project had two main technical arms: to obtain authentic DNA data from well-handled museum collections of human material, which were a priori presumed to be heavily contaminated; to use the data to fill in lacuna in the genetic landscape left by large-scale demographic decline caused by disease and social disruption associated with the modern era. The major aim of the interpretative phase of the project was to obtain realistic estimates for the date of settlement of these island groups based on genetics because of the absence of reliable archaeological evidence. The main aim of this research was to determine whether the Andaman islanders were part of a very early radiation from Africa or arrived to their archipelago much later. The Nicobars were included in the research to have a comparative data set from the same region from people with a different phenotype. The data set is comprised of mitochondrial DNA control region sequences and coding region Single Nucleotide Polymorphisms.

  • The project aim was to develop process-based computer simulations of the dispersal of Homo erectus out of Africa. This involved developing realistic constraints on the patterns of vegetation and the effects of changes in global sea level. It was assumed that this migration out of Africa could be investigated through the paradigm of a single migration event, starting around 2 millions of years ago and arriving in Dmanisi around 1.8 millions of years ago. The data archived here consists of the vegetation patterns used in constructing the simulations and the patterns of climate variability used to constrain the variations in sea level and vegetation change. From these data it is possible to reproduce the simulation results. Simulation results are available from J.K. Hughes, A. Haywood, S.J. Mithen, B.W. Sellwood, P.J. Valdes (In Press) Investigating Early Hominin Dispersal Patterns : developing a framework for climate data integration. Journal Of Human Evolution.

  • This research sought to explore the pattern of population movement (direction, rate, permanency) along a hypothesised route from Africa to Australasia during Oxygen Isotope Stage 4. Using GIS-based analyses and hypothetical models of population movement, potential routes out of East Africa were generated and examined. The goal of these analyses was to assess the viability of particular routes, and consider them in terms of ecological and geographical constraints. As a result, several routes through Africa, Arabia, South Asia, Southeast Asia, and Australasia were proposed and evaluated. These routes have been further examined with regards to archaeological site location, the timing of human presence in South Asia, and biological indicators of human diversity.

  • The spectacular botanical preservation and long occupation of Qasr Ibrim, Egypt make this site archaeobotanically matchless. 600 samples have been collected over 20 years covering a timespan of c. 1000 BC - AD 1800. The project has particularly focussed on the period AD 100-400 during which several new summer crops including sorghum, cotton, lablab and sesame first appear. These new crops are thought to be associated with the introduction of new irrigation technology, specifically a device known as the saqia, an ox-driven water wheel from which descends a conveyor belt to which pots are attached. It has never before been possible to examine this crucial change archaeologically and this project has allowed the investigation of when and how this great change happened. This has major implications for the history of agriculture in Africa and the Indian Ocean.

  • The Ancient Biomolecules Initiative is a Natural Environment Research Council programme exploring the biomolecular record of past life which is entombed in archaeological and geological deposits. The findings have applications in archaeology, anthropology, forensic science, research into the past climates and oil exploration. This resource consists of a series of leaflets in PDF format which describe the key findings of the Ancient Biomolecules Initiative.

  • Scope This database compiles, from published sources, the sample records of archaeobotanical (plant) remains from archaeological sites located in southwest Asia, central Anatolia and Cyprus dated to the Pre-Pottery Neolithic or earlier. Research The database contributes directly to the following publication, and users are referred to that article for further information on the development and intended use of the database: Wallace, M., Jones, G., Charles, M., Forster, E., Stillman, E., Bonhomme, V., Livarda, A., Osborne, C., Rees, M., Frenck, G., Preece, C. (submitted). Re-analysis of archaeobotanical remains from pre- and early agricultural sites provides no evidence for a narrowing of the wild plant food spectrum during the origins of agriculture in southwest Asia. Vegetation History and Archaeobotany. Funding This database was developed during two projects based at the University of Sheffield, funded by a European Research Council (ERC) grant 'The Evolutionary Origins of Agriculture' (grant no. 269830-EOA, PI Glynis Jones, University of Sheffield) and a Natural Environment Research Council (NERC) grant 'Origins of Agriculture: an Ecological Perspective on Crop Domestication' (grant no. NE/H022716/1, PI Colin Osborne, University of Sheffield). The database builds on an earlier database compiled by Sue Colledge during 'The Origin and Spread of Neolithic Plant Economies in the Near East and Europe' project (AHRB, PIs Stephen Shennan and James Conolly, University College London) and the 'Domestication of Europe' project (NERC, PI Terry Brown, University of Manchester). Citation When using data included in this database the original publication(s) of the data should be cited. Original publications can be identified in the tables '4_Records (samples)' and '5_References'. The authors would be grateful if this database is cited in addition to the original publication(s). Disclaimer This database is a compilation of data as presented by other researchers. Inclusion in this database does not constitute an endorsement of the data or the researchers. The authors of the database do not take responsibility for any adverse outcome due to transcription or other errors introduced in the creation of this database. When using the database the original source of data should be checked to ensure the accuracy and integrity of the data included in the database

  • This dataset comprises Acoustic Wave and Current (AWAC) profiler data collected in the coastal waters of St Vincent, in the Caribbean Sea. The data were collected betewen 26th July 2018 and 10th October 2018 and 15th January 2019 to 20th March 2019 as part fo two deployments. An AWAC profiler was deployed at approximately 10 metres depth in the shallow coastal waters, south of Georgetown, St Vincent. The dataset is part of the Commonwealth Marine Economies Programme which was launched in 2016 to help support the marine economies of commonwealth small island developing states (SIDS).

  • The RAGNARoCC dataset includes surface and deep ocean measurements of greenhouse gas concentrations including carbon dioxide, methane and nitrous oxide. The dataset was collected in the North Atlantic Ocean during the RRS James Clark Ross cruise JR20140531 (JR302) which surveyed from Canada, to Greenland, to the United Kingdom via Iceland. The JR302 cruise started on 6th June 2014 and finished on 22nd July 2014. Some water samples were analysed aboard ship, whilst others were subsequently analysed ashore. The dataset is based on data and water samples collected by surface underway measurements and during CTD stations from the RRS James Clark Ross. The RAGNARoCC dataset was collected to understand the size and variability of the sources and sinks of greenhouse gases between the ocean and atmosphere in the North Atlantic Ocean. The dataset was produced by various members of the RAGNARoCC project consortium. Dr. Brian King was the cruise principal investigator for JR302. The data are made available by the British Oceanographic Data Centre, with relevant data also contributing to community research portals such as The dataset currently includes some of the data from cruise JR302, but is expected to include additional data from JR302. Additional data is also expected from the Porcupine Abyssal Plain Sustained Observatory (PAP-SO) mooring; the Voluntary Observing Ship (VOS) MV Benguela Stream; data from a Bay of Biscay Ferry-box route; and the RRS Discovery cruise DY040.

  • The General Bathymetric Chart of the Oceans (GEBCO) One Minute Grid is a global terrain model for land and sea at one arc-minute intervals. The grid is largely based on the bathymetric contours contained in the Centenary Edition of the GEBCO Digital Atlas, existing grids are used in some areas. The land areas are based on the Global Land One-km Base Elevation (GLOBE) Project data set. The grid was originally released in 2003 and updated in 2008 to include data from the International Bathymetric Chart of the Arctic Ocean (IBCAO), for the region north of 64N and also updates for shallower water regions off India, the Korean Peninsula and around South Afriaca, using data extracted from Electronic Navigation Charts (ENCs). The grid is available to download, in netCDF format, for free from the internet. Free software is available for viewing and accessing data from the grid in netCDF and ASCII. This includes an option to export the grid in an ASCII form suitable for conversion to an ESRI raster. The grid is also included in the GEBCO Digital Atlas DVD. It is not intended to make any further updates to this data set. In 2009, GEBCO released a new bathymetric grid, the GEBCO_08 Grid. This is a global terrain model at 30 arc-second intervals. It is largely based on a database of ship-track soundings with interpolation between soundings guided by satellite derived-gravity data.

  • This dataset includes two cruises of data collected to investigate Arctic hydrate dissociation as a consequence of climate change and to determine vulnerable methane reservoir and gas escape mechanisms. Work during both JR269A and JR269B was focused on two separate geographical areas. The first of these was west of Prins Karls Forland, in water depths of between 150 and 1200 m. At its landward end, this survey area crosses a region at water depths up to 400 m where a dense concentration of methane escape bubble plumes occur. The second survey area straddles the summit of the Vestnesa Ridge, in water depths of 1180 to 1400 m, and is also the site of methane escape bubble plumes within the water column and of fluid escape chimneys and pockmarks previously imaged at and beneath the sea bed. This area lies approximately 100 km west of the mouth of Kongsfjorden. Data collection took place between August 2011 and July 2012. The research expedition used a deep-towed, very high resolution seismic system to image the small-scale structures that convey gas to the seabed and to detect the presence of gas in the sediments. This was done in conjunction with an electromagnetic exploration system that uses a deep-towed transmitter and receivers on the seabed to derive the variations in electrical resistivity in the sediments beneath the seabed. The observations carried out on the two cruises included; underway, meteorological observations and echo sounder data, multichannel seismic reflection profiling data, wide angle seismic survey data, and ocean bottom seismometer (OBS) data, ocean bottom electro-magnetometer data and controlled source electromagnetic surveys (CSEM). The overall objectives of the project were to determine the spatial distribution of gas and hydrate accumulations beneath the sea bed; to investigate and understand gas transport and escape mechanisms, their spatial distribution, and the controls on these; and to quantify gas and hydrate saturation values in situ within the pore spaces of the shallow sediment reservoirs. The research is focused on specific areas where significant accumulations of methane hydrate and active methane venting through the sea floor were observed and documented during the earlier JR211 cruise in 2008. This is a NERC funded project hosted by University of Southampton. The data held at BODC include multichannel seismic reflection, TOPAS sub-bottom profiler and 2D seismic reflection data in SEG-Y format. No further data are expected.