Ecological and Environmental Change Research Group

Eric Grimm, HOPE collaborator

Eric Grimm (born 20 August 1951), a very active collaborator and key-player within our HOPE project, died suddenly on 15 November 2020. Eric devoted his career to doing superb palaeoecological science and to providing a generous service to the scientific community through his development of TILIA software, giving numerous workshops internationally, and managing and enlarging Neotoma, a global database of all types of palaeoecological data.

Eric Grimm giving a presentation at a symposium
Eric Grimm at the von Post 100 years symposium, Stockholm, 2016
Hilary Birks

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Eric gained his PhD from the University of Minnesota in 1981 with his classic work on the vegetational history of the so-called 'Big Woods' area of central Minnesota. This work was one of the first demonstrations via pollen analysis of multiple stable states and abrupt intrinsic shifts.

It was in Minnesota that John Birks first met Eric and helped core Wolsfeld Lake on a cold day (ca. -10C) in April 1979. Eric came to Cambridge as a post-doctoral fellow to work with John 1981-82.

Eric and his close friend George Jacobson made the first estimates of rates of palynological change in 1986. He worked at Illinois State Museum (Springfield) from 1987 until his early retirement as Director of Science in 2015. He returned to his native South Dakota and worked as an Adjunct Research Professor at the University of Minnesota as the major co-ordinator of the Neotoma database. Besides his PhD work in Minnesota and on Neotoma, Eric also did outstanding and innovative palaeoecological work in the Great Plains and Florida.

Eric was one of the most generous, friendly, meticulous scientific colleagues one could ever hope to work with. His death is a huge loss to HOPE and to palaeoecology as a whole. He will be greatly missed.