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Quaternary Environments: Who's Who

Dr Alwynne. B. Beaudoin, Head Curator, Earth Sciences, and Curator, Quaternary Environments

Dr Alwynne. B. Beaudoin, Head Curator, Earth Sciences, and Curator, Quaternary Environments
Phone: 780-453-9192, Fax 780-454-6629

Dr Beaudoin is the Head Curator for the Earth Sciences section of the Royal Alberta Museum. She is also Curator for the Quaternary Environments program. Dr Beaudoin holds a B.Sc. (Hons.) in Physical Geography from Leeds University, UK, and M.Sc. and Ph.D. degrees from the University of Western Ontario. Her graduate work had a strong connection to Alberta and focused on the landscapes and vegetation history of Sunwapta Pass, adjacent to the Athabasca Glacier, in Jasper National Park. Following an interval of university teaching in Ontario, she moved to Alberta to work for the Archaeological Survey of Alberta in 1986, transferring to the Provincial Museum of Alberta in 1991.

At the Museum, Alwynne's research focus is the investigation of the landscapes and environments of Alberta during the past 13,000 years, especially as these relate to the province's human history. This involves the examination of plant remains, especially seeds and pollen, and the analysis of soils and sediments. She extracts these plant remains from sediment samples taken from lake cores, peat sections, and other depositional contexts. Alwynne enjoys working with researchers in other subject areas and many of her projects have involved collaboration with archaeologists, anthropologists, paleontologists, and biologists. She has also been involved in the development of several galleries and exhibitions, including the Syncrude Gallery of Aboriginal Culture (opened in 1997), the Wild Alberta Gallery (opened in 2003), and the highly successful Natural Selections exhibition (2010-2011).

Dr Beaudoin has produced more than 100 publications related to her area of expertise. She is a member or Fellow of seven professional societies and she has served on the executive of several. Currently, she serves as Editor for Geolog, the Geological Association of Canada's quarterly newsletter. In addition to her Museum duties, Alwynne also lectures and supervises graduate student research through the University of Alberta. She has held appointments as an Adjunct Professor in the Anthropology Department and the Earth and Atmospheric Sciences Department at the University of Alberta, and in the Archaeology Department at the University of Saskatchewan. She enjoys taking an active role in public education, and often speaks to societies and other groups. At the Museum, she helps to organize the popular Questions and Collections lecture series.

Recent publications

Diana Tirlea, Assistant Curator, Quaternary Environments

Diana Tirlea, Assistant Curator, Quaternary Environments
Phone: 780-453-9192, Fax 780-454-6629

Diana started working at the Royal Alberta Museum in 2012. Her role as Assistant Curator includes maintaining and developing the Quaternary Environments' collection, and making information about Quaternary Environments accessible to the public through research, publications, and presentations. She is currently developing a database to catalogue the collection, which includes materials such as lake sediment, archeological material, sediment residue containing microfossils (e.g., pollen grains, stomata), and macrofossils (e.g., plant fragments, seeds) collected from throughout Alberta. This database will be essential to managing this extensive collection, which contributes to unraveling Alberta's natural heritage through research projects completed by museum staff, students, and other researchers.

Diana completed her M.Sc. in Ecology at the University of Alberta in 2011. Her thesis focused on determining if input of terrestrial-derived nutrients (pollen grains) into small alpine lakes (Banff National Park) influenced the productivity of these sensitive ecosystems. She also investigated changes in vegetation occurrence, abundance and distribution in response to changing climates, primarily through use of pollen analysis. Her research interests include pollen analysis and methods, treeline dynamics in alpine ecosystems, and palaeoecology.

Recent publications

Christina Poletto

Christina Poletto
Phone: 780-453-9192, Fax 780-454-6629

Christina is a master's student at the University of Alberta and a volunteer with the Royal Alberta Museum. She is currently working with the collections in Quaternary Environments and has helped implement a database for the program. Her masters research is based on a material that was housed at the Royal Alberta Museum; a core from Sharkbite Lake in northeastern Alberta. Her research interests include archaeology, palynology, boreal forest palaeoenvironments, and anthropogenic landscape management practices.

Amandah VanMerlin

Amandah VanMerlin
Phone: 780-453-9192, Fax 780-454-6629

Amandah is an anthropological archaeologist who has brought her enthusiasm for Landscape Archaeology to the Quaternary Environments section at the Royal Alberta Museum. She started working at the Museum in 2015 after the completion of her MA in Anthropology from Trent University. Since starting, she has been focused on the development of the new Changing Landscapes Gallery for the downtown museum.

Amandah enjoys long walks on the Brazeau Reservoir, photography, and understanding the relationship between culture and landscape.