Personal profile

Biography

I am Professor of Palaeoecology & Palaeoclimatology in the Department of Geography & Environmental Sciences, and Director of the NERC Doctoral Training Partnership ONEPlanet. Prior to joining Northumbria University, I worked at the British Antarctic Survey, Cambridge, UK (2005-2010), the Leibniz Centre for Tropical Marine Research (ZMT) in Bremen, Germany (2003-2005) and the Institute for Archaeology & Archaeobotany, University of Frankfurt, Germany (1998-2002), where I received my PhD degree on the vegetation and climate history of the West African savanna.

RESEARCH INTERESTS

My research focuses on the reconstruction of the Earth’s past environments. I am particularly interested in the palaeoclimatology and palaeoecology of tropical and polar regions. My research includes:

Antarctic and Arctic climate and vegetation change. The polar regions play a key role in our understanding of environmental change in a warmer-than-present world. I am reconstructing Antarctic land-ocean interactions before the onset of glaciation and during past warm periods to understand the forcing and feedback mechanisms controlling polar glaciation throughout the past Greenhouse to Icehouse transition.

Global synthesis of climate proxy data for testing and improving numerical climate models. By combining palynology with data-model comparison, my research fosters a deeper understanding of how terrestrial environments responded, and might respond in the future, to rapid changes in temperatures and atmospheric CO2 concentration.

Quaternary vegetation change and human impact. I have a strong interest in assessing the role of early human impact and climate change. A thorough understanding of the importance of human impact is essential for the development of sustainable management and appropriate mitigation strategies for the future.

RESEARCH PROJECTS

  • "As Good as (G)Old? Comparing Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services of Restored and Natural Mangrove Forests in the Wallacea Region (CoReNat); NERC  (Co-I)
  • Super-Warm Early Eocene Temperatures and climate: understanding the response of the Earth system to high CO2 through integrated modelling and data – SWEET”; NERC Large Grant (Co-I)
  • The Pliocene of Northwest China: Understanding aridification in a warmer world”; Royal Society (PI)
  • Southern High Latitude Vegetation Response to Rapid Climate Change at the Cenozoic Greenhouse to Icehouse Transition”, NERC (PI)
  • Late Pliocene soils and lakes: A global data set for the analysis of climate feedbacks in a warmer world”, NERC (PI)

Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 13 - Climate Action
  • SDG 14 - Life Below Water
  • SDG 15 - Life on Land

Education/Academic qualification

PhD, "The Holocene Vegetation and Climate History of the West African Savanna"

1 Apr 19941 Apr 1998

Award Date: 1 Dec 1998

MSc, Diplom (~MSc) Physical Geography, Botany & Geology

Award Date: 1 Feb 1994

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