Dr Juan Carlos Berrio

Lecturer in Physical GeographyDr Juan Carlos Berrio

Contact details

  • Telephone: 0116 252 3833
  • Email: jcb34@le.ac.uk
  • Office: Bennett Building F45
  • ORCID ID: orcid.org/0000-0002-9198-9277

Personal details

I conduct research in several Latin-American countries (Colombia, Guatemala, Mexico and Venezuela), in different ecosystems including the tropical rain forest (TRF) of the Amazon Basin and Chocó province, the inter-montane dry biomes, savanna ecosystem and its boundaries with TRF. I am a member of the Leicester Quaternary Palaeoenvironments Research group. I am also a member of the Palaeoclimate Commission (PALCOM) of INQUA.


My research interest focuses in to understand patterns of distribution and dynamics of tropical vegetation, the biogeographical control of different plant species and their relationships with main drivers of climate change. In order to investigate climate variability and environmental change, I do apply different proxies to study both long-and-short term sedimentary records from different tropical biomes. Most of the time is dedicated to trace such climate variations and vegetation changes at millennial and decadal to orbital time scales.

External activities

Director of the Leicester's Palaeoecology Laboratory:

If you are interested in research collaborations, feel free to contact me by email or telephone.

Impact, enterprise and outreach

  • I am a member of the Quaternary Science Association (QRA).
  • I am member of the International Organisation of Palaeobotany (IOP).
  • I am a member of the INQUA Palaeoclimate Commission (PALCOM).
  • Expert reviewer for the Marie Skłodowska-Curie Individual Fellowships (MSCA-IF) “Horizon 2020” EU Research and Innovation program.
  • Expert evaluator of research proposals for CYTED (Ibero-American Science and Technology for Development).


Cardale de Schrimpff, M., Berrio, J.C., Groot, A.M., Botero, P., Duncan, N. (2019). Culture and the environment on the floodplain of the river Cauca in southwestern Colombia: Reconstructing the evidence from the Late Pleistocene to the Late Holocene. Quaternary International (in press). https://doi.org/10.1016/j.quaint.2018.12.022

Onyia, N.N., Balzter, H., Berrio, J.C. (2018). Normalized Difference Vegetation Vigour Index: A New Remote Sensing Approach to Biodiversity Monitoring in Oil Polluted Regions. Remote Sensing 10, 897. doi.org/10.3390/rs10060897

Teh, Y.A., Murphy, W., Berrio, J.C., Page, S., Boom, A. (2017). Spatial and temporal variability in methane and nitrous oxide fluxes from Amazonian tropical peatlands. Journal of Biosciences 14, 3669–3683. 10.5194/bg-14-3669-2017

Balslev, H., Copete, J.C., Pedersen, D., Bernal, R., Galeano, G., Duque, A., Berrio, J.C, Sanchez, M. (2017) Palm Diversity and Abundance in the Colombian Amazon. Forest structure, function and dynamics in Western Amazonia pp. 101-123 10.1002/9781119090670.ch5 ISBN13: 9781119090670

Lea, l.A., Bilbao, B., Berrio, J.C., Behling, H.,  Montoya, V.J., Mendez, C. (2016) Late-Holocene gallery forest retrogression in the Venezuelan Guayana: New data and implications for the conservation of a cultural landscape. HOLOCENE, 26 (7), pp. 1049-1063 10.1177/0959683616632892

Berrio, J.C., Cleef, A.M. (2016) Vegetation History during the Quaternary in Colombia. In: Bernal, R., Gradstein, S.R., Celis, M. (Eds.) Catalogo de plantas y li­quenes de Colombia 1, pp. 55-69 ISBN13: 978-958-775-727-9

Carr, A.S., Armitage, S.J., Berrio, J.C., Bilbao, B.A., Boom, A. (2016) An optical luminescence chronology for late Pleistocene aeolian activity in the Colombian and Venezuelan Llanos. QUATERNARY RESEARCH, 85 (2), pp. 299-312 10.1016/j.yqres.2015.12.009http://hdl.handle.net/2381/36695

Bogota-A, R.G., Hooghiemstra, H., Berrio, J.C. (2016) North Andean environmental and climatic change at orbital to submillennial time-scales: Vegetation, water-levels and sedimentary regimes from Lake Fuquene between 284 and 130 ka. REVIEW OF PALAEOBOTANY AND PALYNOLOGY, 226, pp. 91-107 10.1016/j.revpalbo.2015.09.007

Groot, M.H.M., Hooghiemstra, H., Berrio, J.C., Giraldo,C. (2013) North Andean environmental and climatic change at orbital to submillennial time-scales: Vegetation, water levels and sedimentary regimes from Lake Fuquene 130-27ka. Review of Palaeobotany and Palynology, 197, pp. 186-204 10.1016/j.revpalbo.2013.04.005

Leal, A., Bilbao, B., Berrio, J.C. (2013) A Contribution to Pollen Rain Characterization in Forest-Savanna Mosaics of the Venezuelan Guayana and Its Use in Vegetation Reconstructions from Sedimentary Records. American Journal of Plant Sciences, 4 (7), pp. 33-5210.4236/ajps.2013.47A1006

Duncan, N., Cardale-schrimpjf, M., Groot, A.M., Botero, P., Betancourt, A., Berrio, J.C. (2013) Human Occupation and the Environment during the Holocene in the River Cauca Valley, Colombia. The evidence from palaeobotany and from soil studies. Dialogo Andino, 41, pp. 159-17010.4067/S0719-26812013000100010

Vriend, M., Groot, M.H.M., Hooghiemstra, H., Bogota-Angel, R.G., Berrio, J.C. (2012) Changing depositional environments in the Colombian Fuquene Basin at submillennial time-scales during 284-27 ka from unmixed grain-size distributions and aquatic pollen. Netherlands Journal of Geosciences, 91 (1/2), pp. 199-214

Berrio, J.C., Wouters, H., Hooghiemstra, H., Carr, A.S., Boom, A. (2012) Using paleoecological data to define main vegetation dynamics along the savanna-forest ecotone in Colombia: Implications for accurate assessment of human impacts. Ecotones Between Forest and Grassland pp. 209-225 10.1007/978-1-4614-3797-0_9 ISBN13: 9781461437970

Hooghiemstra, H., Berrio, J.C., Groot, M.H.M., Bogota, R.G., Moscol-Olivera, M., Gonzalez-Carranza, Z. (2012) The Dynamic History of the Upper Forest Line Ecotone in the Northern Andes. pp. 229-246 ISBN13: 978-1-4614-3796-3

Romero-Ruiz, M.H., Flantua, S.G.A., Tansey,K., Berrio, J.C. (2012) Landscape transformations in savannas of northern South America: Land use/cover changes since 1987 in the Llanos Orientales of Colombia. Applied Geography, 32 (2), pp. 766-776 10.1016/j.apgeog.2011.08.010http://hdl.handle.net/2381/20573

Leal, A., Berrio, J.C., Raimundez, H., Bilbao, B. (2011) A pollen atlas of premontane woody and herbaceous communities from the upland savannas of Guayana, Venezuela. Palynology, 35 (2), pp. 226-266 10.1080/01916122.2011.603909 http://hdl.handle.net/2381/26703

Bogota-A, R,G,, Groot, M.H.M., Hooghiemstra, H., Lourens, L.J., van der Linden, M., Berrio, J.C. (2011) Rapid climate change from north Andean Lake Fuquene pollen records driven by obliquity: Implications for a basin-wide biostratigraphic zonation for the last 284 ka. Quaternary Science Reviews, 30 (23-24), pp. 3321-3337 10.1016/j.quascirev.2011.08.003 http://hdl.handle.net/2381/11345

Groot MHM, Bogota RG, Lourens LJ, Hooghiemstra H, Vriend M, Berrio JC, Tuenter E, Van der Plicht J, Van Geel B, Ziegler M, Weber SL, Betancourt A, Contreras L, Gaviria S, Giraldo C, Gonzalez N, Jansen JHF, Konert M, Ortega D, Rangel O, Sarmiento G, Vandenberghe J, Van der Hammen T, Van der Linden M, Westerhoff W (2011) Ultra-high resolution pollen record from the northern Andes reveals rapid shifts in montane climates within the last two glacial cycles. Climate of the past, 7 (1), pp. 299-316 10.5194/cp-7-299-2011http://hdl.handle.net/2381/19178

Carr AS, Dunajko A, Boom A, Bateman MD, Holmes PJ, Berrio J-C (2010) New evidence for the age and palaeoecology of the Knysna Formation, South Africa. South African Journal of Geology, 113 (3), pp. 241-256 10.2113/gssajg.113.3.241 http://hdl.handle.net/2381/11457

Boom A, Carr AS, Berrio JC (2009) A century long record of Amazonian Miocene seasonal climate. Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta, 73 (13), pp. A138 10.1016/j.gca.2009.05.002

Marchant R, Cleef A, Harrison SP, Hooghiemstra H, Markgraf V, van Boxel J, Ager T, Almeida L, Anderson R, Baied C, Behling H, Berrio JC, Burbridge R, Bjorck S, Byrne R, Bush M, Duivenvoorden J, Flenley J, De Oliveira P, van Geel B, Graf K, Gosling WD, Harbele S, van der Hammen T, Hansen B, Horn S, Kuhry P, Ledru M-P, Mayle F, Leyden B, Lozano-Garcia S, Melief AM, Moreno P, Moar NT, Prieto A, van Reenen G, Salgado-Labouriau M, Schaebitz F, Schreve-Brinkman EJ, Wille M (2009) Pollen-based biome reconstructions for Latin America at 0, 6000 and 18 000 radiocarbon years ago. Climate of the past, 5 (4), pp. 725-767 http://hdl.handle.net/2381/36690

Sarmiento G, Gaviria S, Hooghiemstra H, Berrio JC, Van der Hammen T (2008) Landscape evolution and origin of Lake Fúquene (Colombia): Tectonics, erosion and sedimentation processes during the Pleistocene. Geomorphology, 100, pp. 563-575 10.1016/j.geomorph.2008.02.006http://hdl.handle.net/2381/11444

Gonzalez-Carranza, Z., Berrio, J.C., Hooghiemstra, H., Duivenvoorden, J., Behling, H. (2008) Changes of seasonally dry forest in the Colombian Patia Valley during the early and Middle Holocene and the development of a dry climatic record for the northernmost Andes. Review of Palaeobotany and Palynology, 152, pp. 1-10 10.1016/j.revpalbo.2008.03.005 http://hdl.handle.net/2381/11151

Gomez A, Berrio JC, Hooghiemstra H, Becerra M, Marchant R (2007) A Holocene pollen record of vegetation change and human impact from Pantano de Vargas, an intra-Andean basin of Duitama, Colombia. Review of Palaeobotany and Palynology, 145, pp. 143-15710.1016/j.revpalbo.2006.10.002 http://hdl.handle.net/2381/2109

Grimm, E., Keltner, J., Cheddadi, R., Hicks, S., Lezine, A.M., Berrio, J.C., Williams, J.W. (2007) Pollen databases and their application. Encyclopaedia of Quaternary Sciences pp. 2522-2530 ISBN10: 0-444-51919-X

Hooghiemstra, H., Berrio, J.C. (2007) Pollen records, Late Pleistocene, South America. Encyclopaedia of Quaternary Science pp. 2648-2660 ISBN10: 0-444-51919-X

Velez MI, Hooghiemstra H, Metcalfe S, Wille M, Berrio JC (2006) Late Glacial and Holocene environmental and climatic changes from a limnological transect through Colombia, northern South America. Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology, 234 (1), pp. 81-96http://hdl.handle.net/2381/11445

Marchant R, Berrio JC, Behling H, Boom A, Hooghiemstra H (2006) Colombian dry moist forest transition in the Llanos Orientales -A comparison of model and pollen-based biome reconstructions. Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology, 234 (1), pp. 28-44http://hdl.handle.net/2381/11175

Martinez I, Spero HJ, Berrio JC (2006) Late Quaternary climates of tropical America and adjacent seas. PALAEOGEOGRAPHY PALAEOCLIMATOLOGY PALAEOECOLOGY, 234 (1), pp. 1-2 10.1016/j.palaeo.2005.10.017 http://hdl.handle.net/2381/18774

Berrio JC (2006) Analisis de polen de los camellones de Guaymaral y La Filomena, Suba. Patrones de asentamiento regional y sistemas de agricultura intensiva en Cota y Suba, Sabana de Bogota (Colombia) pp. 109-131 ISBN10: 958-95153-8-X

Berrio JC, Hooghiemstra H, Van Geel B, Ludlow Weichers B (2006) Environmental history of the dry forest biome, Mexico, and human occupation impact during the last c. 2700 years. Holocene, 16 (1), pp. 63-80 10.1191/0959683606hl905rp http://hdl.handle.net/2381/2110

Velez MI, Berrio JC, Hooghiemstra H, Metcalfe S, Marchant R (2005) Paleoenvironmental changes during the last ca. 8590 calibrated yr (7800 radiocarbon yr) in the Patía Valley, Southern Colombia Andes: a multiproxy approach. Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology, 216, pp. 279-302 http://hdl.handle.net/2381/11465

Urrego LE, Berrio JC (2004) Los estudios paleoecologicos en el Choco Biogeografico durante el Holoceno medio y reciente. In: Rangel O (Eds.) Colombia, Diversidad Biotica IV.,El Choco Biogeografico/Costa Pacifica pp. 23-38 ISBN10: 958-701-439-1

Marchant R, Behling H, Berrio JC, Hooghiemstra H, van Geel B, Van der Hammen T, Herrera L, Melief B, Van Reenen G, Wille M (2004)Vegetation disturbance and human population in Colombia - a regional reconstruction. Antiquity, 78, pp. 828-838

Marchant RA, Boom A, Behling A, Berrío JC, Geel VB, Hammen VDT, Hooghiemstra H, Kuhry , Wille M (2004) Colombian vegetation at the Late Glacial Maximum – a comparison of model and pollen-based biome reconstructions. Journal of Quaternary Science, 19, pp. 721-732

Berrio JC, Hooghiemstra H, Marchant RA, Rangel O (2003) Lateglacial and Holocene history of the dry forest area in South Colombian Cauca.Journal of Quaternary Science, 17 (7), pp. 667-682 10.1002/jqs.701 http://hdl.handle.net/2381/2111

Berrio JC, Arbelaez MV, Duivenvoorden J, Cleef AM, Hooghiemstra H (2003) Pollen representation and successional vegetation change on the sandstone plateau of Araracuara, Colombian Amazonia. Review of Palaeobotany and Palynology, 126, pp. 163-181http://hdl.handle.net/2381/11467

Berrio JC, Hooghiemstra H, Marchant R, Rangel O (2002) Late-glacial and Holocene history of the dry forest area in the south. Journal of Quaternary Science, 17 (7), pp. 667-682 10.1002/jqs.701 http://hdl.handle.net/2381/19932

Marchant , A R, Almeida , L , Behling , H , Berrio , C J, Bush , M , Cleef , M A, Duivenvoorden , D , Kappelle , M , Oliveira D, P , Oliveira-Filho TD, A , Lozano-Garcia , S , Hooghiemstra , H , Ledru , P M, Ludlow-Wiechers , B , Markgraf , V , Mancini , V , Paez , M , Prieto , A , Rangel , O , Salgado-Labouriau , L M (2002) Distribution and ecology of parent taxa of pollen lodged within the Latin American Pollen Database. Review of Palaeobotany and Palynology, 121, pp. 1-75 http://hdl.handle.net/2381/11272

Berrio, J.C. (2002) Lateglacial and Holocene Vegetation and Climatic Change in Lowland Colombia. ISBN10: 90-76894094

Marchant RA, Behling H, Berrio JC, Cleef AM, Duivenvoorden J, Hooghiemstra H, Kuhry P, Melief ABM, Van Geel B, Van der Hammen T, Van Reenen G, Wille M (2002) Pollen-based biome reconstructions for Colombia at 3000, 6000, 9000, 12,000, 15,000 and 18,000 radiocarbon years ago: Late Quaternary tropical vegetation dynamics. Journal of Quaternary Science, 17 (2), pp. 113-129 http://hdl.handle.net/2381/11468

Marchant R, Berrio JC, Cleef AM, Duivenvoorden J, Hooghiemstra H, Kuhry P, Melief ABM, Van Geel B, Van Reenen G, Van der Hammen T(2002) A reconstruction of Colombian Biomes derived from modern pollen data along an altitudinal gradient. Review of Palaeobotany and Palynology, 117, pp. 79-92 http://hdl.handle.net/2381/11086

Berrio JC, Hooghiemstra H, Behling H, Botero P, Van der Borg K (2002) Late-Quaternary savanna history of the Colombian Llanos Orientales from Lagunas Chenevo and Mozambique: a transect synthesis. HOLOCENE, 12 (1), pp. 35-48 10.1191/0959683602h1518rphttp://hdl.handle.net/2381/2112

Berrio JC, Hooghiemstra H, Behling H, Botero P, Van der Borg K (2002) Environmental history of the western Colombian savannas of the Llanos Orientales since the Middle Holocene from Laguna Mozambique and Chenevo. Holocene, 12 (1), pp. 35-48 10.1191/0959683602hl518rp

Berrio JC, Boom A, Botero PJ, Herrera LF, Hooghiemstra H, Romero F, Sarmiento G (2001) Multi-disciplinary evidence of the Holocene history of a cultivated floodplain area in the wetlands of northern Colombia. Vegetation History and Archaeobotany, 10 (3), pp. 161-174http://hdl.handle.net/2381/11454

Marchant R, Behling H, Berrio JC, Cleef AM, Duivenvoorden J, Hooghiemstra H, Kuhry P, Melief B, Vas Geel B, Van der Hammen T, Van Reenen G, Wille M (2001) Mid- to Late-Holocene pollen-based biome reconstructions for Colombia. Quaternary Science Reviews, 20, pp. 1289-1308 http://hdl.handle.net/2381/11451

Berrio JC, Behling H, Hooghiemstra H (2000) Tropical rain-forest history from the Colombian Pacific area: a 4200-year pollen record from Laguna Jotaordo. HOLOCENE, 10 (6), pp. 749-756 10.1191/09596830094999 http://hdl.handle.net/2381/18508

Berrio JC, Behling H, Hooghiemstra H (2000) Tropical rain forest history from the Colombian Pacific area: a 4200-yr pollen record from Laguna Jotaordo. Holocene, 10 (6), pp. 195-203 10.1191/09596830094999

Berrio JC, Hooghiemstra H, Behling H, Van der Borg K (2000) Late Holocene history of savanna gallery forest from Carimagua area, Colombia.Review of Palaeobotany and Palynology, 111, pp. 295-308 http://hdl.handle.net/2381/11446

Berrio JC, Behling H, Hooghiemstra H (2000) Palaeo-ecological history of the Colombian Rain Forest since the Middle Holocene: a comparison between Amazonia and Choco Biogeographic area. Quaternary International, 26, pp. 22-22

Behling H, Berrio JC, Hooghiemstra H (1999) Late Quaternary pollen records from the middle Caqueta; river basin in central Colombian Amazon. Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology, 145, pp. 193-213 http://hdl.handle.net/2381/11448

Berrio JC (1991) Analisis morfometrico en una poblacion de Tityus columbianus (Thorell, 1876) de Cuitiva, Boyaca, Colombia. (Scorpionida:Buthidae). 20, pp. 12-16

Berrio JC (0) Historia paleoambiental y humana durante el Holoceno en el Pantano de Vargas, Boyaca. 2nd Colombian Biome Meeting, pp. 52-54

Berrio JC, Gomez A, Hooghiemstra H, Becerra M, Marchant R (0) Holocene environmental development of the intra Andean highplain of Duitama (Boyaca, Colombia) from pollen records of Pantano de Vargas. International Palynological Congress, pp. 550-551


Dr J Berrio (50%) Amazonian Peatlands: A potentially important but poorly characterised source ofFrom: 1/9/2011 - To: 31/8/2013, funded by NERC (NAT. ENVIRONMENT RES COUN) (NE/I015469/1), Sum Awarded: £17698


Research areas for PhD supervision

Palaeoenvironmental Reconstructions, Climate Change, Palynology, Palaeoecology, Quaternary Environmental Change, South America, Amazon Rainforests, Above Ground Biomass, Carbon fluxes, Green House Gasses, Biodiversity, Biogeography

I am interested in supervising students on the following topics:

  • Palaeoecology and Environmental change
  • Quaternary Research
  • Vegetation analysis and Biogeography
  • Forest structure and biodiversity
  • Phenology and pollination
  • Distribution of plant species

Enquiries: If you are interested in studying for a PhD in one of these research areas, please make informal enquiries via pgrgeog@le.ac.uk

Find out more information about Geography PhDs including more research areas, how to apply, funding and entry requirements.


StudentThesis Title
Wayne Murphy Response of the Amazon swamp palm forests to human and environmental impacts
Nkeiruka Nneti Application of Remote Sensing (RS) and Geographic Information System (GIS) in the Assessment of Oil Pollution Impact on Biodiversity in Ogoniland, Nigeria


StudentThesis TitleOther Supervisor(s)
Sarah Owen Geological origins of sugarloaf peaks in eastern Brazil and their environmental significance as refugia for Mata Atlantica preservation Dr. Kevin Tansey
Raul Giovanni Bogota-Angel Pleistocene centennial-scale vegetational, environmental, and climatic change in the Colombian andes: based on biotic and abiotic proxy analyses from Lake Fuquene sediments Prof. H. Hooghiemstra
Mirella H.M. Groot Reconstruction of millennial-scale environmental and climatic change in the northern Andes during the last glacial cycle: An integration of biotic and abiotic proxy-information Prof. H. Hooghiemstra, University of Amsterdam
Milton Romero-Ruiz Analysis and monitoring of fire dynamics in the Colombian eastern plains using remote sensing Dr Kevin Tansey
Carlos Avdendano Natural and cultural landscape evolution during the Late Holocene in North Central Guatemalan Lowlands and Highlands Prof. S. Cowling; Dr. S. Finkelstein at University of Toronto
Alejandra Leal

Holocene vegetation and fire history of the forest/savanna ecotone in the Venezuelan Gran Sabana.

Dr. Bibiana Bilbao

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