PhD ‘Holocene climate change in Glen Affric, Northern Scotland: A multi-proxy approach’, University of Stirling (2000)
MSc Environmental Sciences, Trinity College Dublin (1996)
BSc (Hons) Geology, University of Edinburgh (1993)
Background / Previous Posts
Postdoctoral research assistant on Ben Lawers Historical Landscape Project. Part of a multi-disciplinary project examining change including peat spread and fluvial activity over the last 1000 years within a farming landscape funded by Heritage Lottery Fund, Scottish Natural Heritage, National Trust for Scotland and Carnegie Trust For Scottish Universities. 2005-2006.
Post doctoral research assistant (School of Biological and Environmental Sciences) and independent contract researcher (2000-2005). Research projects included:
Literature review investigating the palaeoenvironmental setting of the Antonine wall, Central Scotland forming part of the proposal for UNESCO World Heritage Status for the Antonine Wall, in collaboration with Richard Tipping (University of Stirling) on behalf of Historic Scotland.
Medieval and Post Medieval environmental reconstruction for Old Caerlaverock Castle Dumfriesshire. This project investigated the landscape around the castle during occupation and from sediments infilling the castle moat, determined possible reasons for its abandonment after only 50 years of occupation in collaboration with Richard Tipping (University of Stirling) and Martin Brann (Historic Scotland).
Peat sediment analysis investigating changes in mire surface wetness identified using humification analysis at Loch Farlary, Sutherland, Scottish Natural Heritage.
Later Mesolithic and Neolithic Landscape Reconstruction at Oliclette, near Wick, Caithness. The project involved investigating potential palynological sites and the spatial and temporal spread of blanket peat across the landscape, Historic Scotland and Caithness and Sutherland Enterprise. In collaborations with Richard Tipping (University of Stirling) and Amelia Pannett (University of Cardiff).
Current research interests are centered on investigating Holocene climate change in particular defining the record in terms of single climatic variables. Obtaining single climatic variables is highly desirable and so I am currently interested in the development and refining of climate proxies in particular peat stratigraphic techniques such as humification.
In addition I am investigating the application of Chironomids as a proxy for Holocene temperature change and as a proxy for environmental change. Such well defined and highly resolved climate records could then be used to determine the influence of changes in ocean circulation patterns such as those in the North Atlantic.
I am also interested in further developing chronological controls in particular the use of spheriodal carbonaceous particles to achieve a near annual resolution within the recent palaeoenvironmental record. This resolution is fundamental to inter-disciplinary research where landscape evolution can only be understood through the integration of past records of climate change and human activity, thus providing a model for future changes.
Current research has also led me to Iceland where there is the opportunity to interpret changes in landscape as a response to both human activity and climate change over the past 1000 yrs. Iceland with its wealth of archaeological and documentary evidence is an exciting research area allowing the palaeoenvironmental record to reveal how the Norse peoples responded to and were drivers of change in this fascinating landscape.
I am also keen to promote the application of palaeoenvironmental techniques to landscape conservation issues such as biodiversity and changes in habitat as a response to human activity and climate change.