What was here?

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Posted: Thursday, September 19, 2019 12:07 pm

It is difficult to imagine a time when southern Union County was not prone to flood warnings. However, history has shown that years of dryness were prevalent. In fact, the lack of moisture helped shape the current landscape of Union County and eastern South Dakota. Paleoecologist Eric Grimm, an adjunct research professor at the University of Minnesota, has dedicated his life to studying how modern day ecosystems were developed.

“Ecology is the study of the relationships of organisms with their environment, so paleoecology is the study of past organisms and their environment,” Grimm explained, “because they have history.”

Grimm has a background in geology, a bachelor’s degree in biology from SDSU and a doctorate in paleoecology. He specializes in studying sediment core samples that have been extracted from the bottom of lakes. These samples tell a layered story of how the land used to be long ago. He has obtained cores from South Dakota, North Dakota, Montana, Wyoming, Minnesota, Florida, Illinois and Missouri.

See full story in this week’s Leader-Courier.