- B.Sc. (Hons) Geography, University of Newcastle Upon Tyne, 1993
- Ph.D. (Testing the sensitivity of the palaeoclimatic signal from ombrotrophic peat stratigraphy), University of Southampton, 1997
- Postdoc at the Institute for Biodiversity and Ecosystem Dynamics (IBED), Research Group Palynology and Paleo/Actuo-ecology, Faculty of Science, University of Amsterdam, The Netherlands, 1999-2001
- Marie Curie Individual Fellowship at the Palaeobiology Program, Department of Earth Sciences, Uppsala University, Sweden, 2001-2003
- Postdoc at the Institute for Biodiversity and Ecosystem Dynamics (IBED), Research Group Palynology and Paleo/Actuo-ecology, Faculty of Science, University of Amsterdam, The Netherlands, 2003-2005
- NERC Peer Review College member, 2009-present
My palaeoecological research involves the analyses of peat bog deposits in order to understand the rate and nature of former environmental changes. My research into peat archive records has been used to: i/ understand long-term peatland carbon sequestration rates (driven by either climate change, long-term succession processes and/or human impacts) ii/ investigate climate change spanning the early Holocene (~11,700 years ago) to the present based upon a range of sub-fossil plant and microorganisms preserved in peat matrices iii/ guide the restoration and preservation of peatlands. A long-term perspective is important for the latter, as peat archive records can be used to show the antiquity and to understand the naturalness and resilience of peat bog ecosystems to a range of natural and anthropogenic drivers of environmental changes. All three of these research foci are highly dependent upon the generation of precise and accurate chronologies. Working with my international colleagues I have developed a series of age/depth modelling techniques to refine and improve this key technique.
I use plant macrofossil and testate amoebae analyses to reconstruct environmental changes and 14C and 210Pb age/depth modelling to generate precise and accurate chronologies (typically with decadal/centennial precision) spanning the very recent past to the early Holocene. I have investigated a wide number of peatlands in Europe, Canada, Argentina, Chile, The Falkland Islands and sub-Antarctic islands. Given this wide range of peatlands across the world, I enjoy extensive research collaboration with leading members of the international palaeoecological community.
Falkland Island peatlands as a mirror to understand future European peatlands (funded by The Leverhulme Trust)
The aim of this research is to understand the relationship between long-term peatland carbon accumulation rates, burning disturbance, the types of former peat forming plants and climate change across the Falkland Islands.
Peatlands are valuable ecosystems which take up and store carbon, mitigating the effects of climate change by taking greenhouse gases out of the atmosphere. For millennia they have captured carbon dioxide (a greenhouse gas) from the atmosphere and locked it away as peat. One of the consequences of recent climate change and human disturbance is that peatlands are now becoming more fire prone due to drainage, higher summer temperatures and reduced precipitation, which creates a water deficit.
In order to understand how carbon accumulation in Northern Hemisphere peatlands may likely change in the future, it is useful to look at how carbon accumulation varies in modern day ‘extreme’ (‘dry’) peatlands located in the Falkland Islands.
If you're interested, here are some pictures of these fascinating islands.
- Drs. Gaël Le Roux & François De Vleeschouwer, Ecolab, CNRS, Ensat/Ecolab, Auzeville-Tolosane, France.
- Professor Zicheng Yu, Department of Earth & Environmental Sciences, Lehigh University, USA.
- Professor Hans Renssen, Department of Climate Change & Landscape Dynamics, Vrije Universiteit, Amsterdam
- Drs. Verónica Pancotto & Andrea Coronato, CADIC- CONICET Bernado Houssay 200 (V9410BFD) Ushuaia- Tierra del Fuego, Argentina
Funding and Grants
The Leverhulme Trust. Falkland Island peatlands as a mirror to understand future European peatlands. PI, 2021-2023, £228,832.
NERC, Standard Grant. Palaeoclimate reconstructions from Tierra del Fuego to detect land-ocean-atmosphere interactions, PI with Southampton, Swansea & Plymouth Universities, 2011-2014, £791,376.
NERC, Small Grant. An evaluation of plant wax markers to reconstruct long-term vegetation change in peat bog deposits, PI, 2010-2011, £31,200.
NERC, Standard Grant. Holocene Land-Ocean-Atmosphere Interactions on the Eastern Seaboard of North America, Co-I with Southampton, Swansea & Exeter Universities, 2010-2012, £490,000.
South African National Antarctic Programme (SANAP). Environmental responses to climate change on Marion Island, 2002-2003, £16,050.
European Commission. A millennial scale assessment of solar forcing & global climatic change, 2001-2003, £98,635.
NERC, Small Research Grant for New Investigators. Assessing the timing & causes of blanket peat erosion & degradation in Wales, 1999, £13,500.
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Neodymium isotopes in peat reveal past local environmental disturbancesScience of the Total Environment, vol. 871, 161859Contributions to Journals: Articles
- [ONLINE] DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.scitotenv.2023.161859
Regional variability in peatland burning at mid- to high-latitudes during the HoloceneQuaternary Science Reviews, vol. 305, 108020Contributions to Journals: Articles
Assessing Modern Calluna Heathland Fire Temperatures using Raman Spectroscopy: Implications for Past Regimes and GeothermometryFrontiers in Earth Science, vol. 10, 827933Contributions to Journals: Articles
The origin of alkaline fen in the Mosbeek Valley in the Netherlands is due to human impact rather than a natural developmentThe Holocene, vol. 32, no. 7, pp. 613-623Contributions to Journals: Articles
- [ONLINE] DOI: https://doi.org/10.1177/09596836221088230
Monitoring, Mapping and Modelling the Terrestrial-Coastal-Marine Interface using Autonomous Aerial, Surface, and Underwater TechnologiesChapters in Books, Reports and Conference Proceedings: Conference Proceedings
The applicability of Raman spectroscopy in the assessment of palaeowildfire intensityPalaeogeography Palaeoclimatology Palaeoecology, vol. 570, 110363Contributions to Journals: Articles
A multi-proxy reconstruction of peatland development and regional vegetation changes in subarctic NE Fennoscandia (the Republic of Karelia, Russia) during the HoloceneThe Holocene, vol. 31, no. 3, pp. 421-432Contributions to Journals: Articles
- [ONLINE] DOI: https://doi.org/10.1177/0959683620972795
Peatlands of Southern South America: a reviewMires and Peat, vol. 27, pp. 1-29Contributions to Journals: Articles
Unequal Anthropogenic Enrichment of Mercury in Earth's Northern and Southern HemispheresAcs earth and space chemistry, vol. 4, no. 11, pp. 2073-2081Contributions to Journals: Articles
- [ONLINE] DOI: https://doi.org/10.1021/acsearthspacechem.0c00220
Neoglacial increase in high-magnitude glacial lake outburst flood frequency, upper Baker River, Chilean Patagonia (47 degrees S)Quaternary Science Reviews, vol. 248, 106572Contributions to Journals: Articles
- [ONLINE] DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.quascirev.2020.106572